The four year funding commitment will go towards Greening Australia’s work to restore eroding gullies and rebuild coastal wetland to improve the water quality on the reef.
As an addition to the announcement made today by the Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles, Greening Australia is happy to announce an additional $500,000 contribution from philanthropists, David and Sallie Prior.
Mr Prior said “we are hopeful our contribution will encourage others to support Greening Australia’s exceptional leadership. The match fund model enables us to invest as partners with Government and the business community at the scale and impact required to improve reef water quality.”
Greening Australia CEO Brendan Foran said the funding would make a real difference to the effort to help farmers restore the gully erosion on their properties.
“Fixing the problem of fine sediment run-off from gully erosion will be achieved through large scale landscape restoration.
“The restoration work will involve reshaping and re-vegetating gullies to stop the sediment at the source, as well as rebuilding coastal wetlands that act as kidneys, filtering out sediment before it reaches the reef.
“This funding will enable us to establish large scale restoration trials and a demonstration site showcasing innovative and effective gully restoration techniques” Mr Foran said.
He added the key to success is the commitment from landowners, pointing to the close working relationships Greening Australia have worked hard to develop and maintain.
Mr Foran said over the last 150 years, deep eroding gullies have formed on private grazing land – some over 10 meters deep – in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.
“When it rains, plumes of sediment, pesticides and nutrients flow from land onto the reef, choking fish and coral, creating algal blooms and weakening the marine ecosystem.
“Landholders are supportive, but once it starts raining it’s impossible to stop the gullies eroding and sediment rushing onto the reef.
“It’s been scientifically proven that the restoration techniques we intend to use can reduce the sediment being released from the eroding gullies by up to 75 per cent,” Mr Foran said.
The gully remediation project forms part of Reef Aid, a Greening Australia program to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef.
Supporting footage of gullies in the Burdekin catchment where the project will occur is available at: dropbox link https://reelimage.box.com/s/c4f55fatzac7axz4cpfcxxn9erg5x6hi