Streambank work protects land and water

December 13, 2019

A Cassowary Valley cane farmer is hoping a new rock wall will help his creek banks hold up in flood events, and stop productive land being washed away.

Richard Padovan is shoring up eroding streambanks as part of a landscape remediation project funded by the Queensland Government’s Natural Resources Investment Program.

Terrain NRM’s Vanessa Drysdale said the 30m rock wall on Mr Padovan’s farm is part of the Mossman Integrated Catchment Repair project, which includes work on cane and cattle properties in the Cassowary and Saltwater sub-catchments. 

“We’re planting and extending vegetation along waterways,'' Ms Drysdale said. "We’re also using engineered constructions like rock walls to increase the ability of streambanks to withstand high water flow events.

“Trees do a great job at holding banks together, but of course take time to establish which is why we use a combination of ‘hard’ works and plantings.”

Mr Padovan has welcomed the work on his farm after experiencing severe flood damage in late 2018 and early 2019.

“It was the worst erosion I’ve seen since I’ve been here. It was like a raging torrent and just took everything with it,” he said.

“No farmer wants to see that happen. You’ve only got so much top soil, and once you lose it, you’ve got nothing left to grow stuff on. That’s why we’re doing our best to keep it where it’s meant to be.

“Trees just make sense. You can see the difference – where there are trees still along the creek bank there has been no real damage in flood events.”

Terrain NRM is coordinating the project and working with Mossman Agricultural Services, Mossman Canegrowers Association and Douglas Shire Council to deliver on ground work.

Mr Padovan applauded the changes he’s seen on his land. 

“I’m really happy that Terrain has come on board to work through our erosion challenges together. The problem’s better tackled together."

“I’m impressed with the results so far, and how smooth a process it has been. I think it goes to show that when you get all parties genuinely talking and working together, then you end up with a lot better job."