Walking the Landscape – No Boots Needed!

February 8, 2018

Heavy rain didn’t stop more than 75+ people “walking” the local landscape this week to better understand how water catchment systems work.

At workshops in Tully and Mourilyan, groups shared local knowledge while working with interactive maps to look at the topography, groundwater, geology and soil types that affect land use and water flow.

The “Walking the Landscape” workshops were organised by the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Science’s Queensland Wetlands Program. The workshops brought together growers, technical experts, industry and community members in priority sub catchments in the Tully and Johnstone, as part of the MIP’s investment in catchment repair and treatment systems.

Sub catchments "walked" were Banyan; Syndicate; and Boar, Brick & Michael Creeks in the Tully, and Moresby and East Palmerston in the Johnstone.

Sandra Henrich is the Basin Coordinator for the Johnstone, and said the MIP is a Reef water quality project with a difference. “We’ve known right from the start that the people who live and work here are the best people to decide what happens in the catchment.”

“You can’t learn this stuff from books. This sort of highly detailed local knowledge is incredibly valuable. When we properly understand how the landscape works, that’s when we can work out the best interventions. There’s been immense amounts – hundreds of years worth of knowledge in the room each day.”

As part of the Queensland Government-funded project, the Wet Tropics MIP will trial and monitor repair and treatment technologies that can potentially reduce the load of nitrogen, pesticides and sediment entering the Reef lagoon.

Until the MIP, there had not been such a coordinated and intensive focus of effort into a specific catchment.

Walking the Landscape sessions are tremendously important to help analyse and prioritise where to invest in catchment repair technologies, and get the right idea in the right spot.