State NRM Program Community Grants _ Demonstrating erosion control on susceptible soils in the East Kimberley
This project will address gully erosion on pastoral land by –
- Completing the last phase of installing check banks across an actively eroding gully.
- Installing a new series of check banks on a second gully adjacent to the first.
- Utilising both gullies as an ongoing demonstration site for landholders to observe the benefits of the remediation work over the longer term.
This site was previously selected as a demonstration site in an earlier project in 2007. The initial project installed the first phase of check banks at the head of a gully and the site was utilised along with a number of others developed across the East Kimberley to demonstrate to pastoralists’ a variety of erosion control techniques.
This project was successful in terms of land manager uptake as demonstrated by a survey carried out at the workshop’s completion (see excerpt from the survey consultants report below)
- To date, at least 140 erosion control banks have been put in by the surveyed group with at least 30-40 more planned for construction by end 2007.
- To date, at least 2850 km of station roads and fence-lines have been assessed for potential erosion, and works undertaken where needed, as a result of attending the workshops.
- 100% of the surveyed group felt that the workshops had been conducted at a suitable site for them and had been delivered in an appropriate and easy to understand way.
- 83% of respondents rated the workshop as EXCELLENT or GOOD in terms of improving their ability to manage soil erosion.
Once the project finished OLW continued to monitor the site to asses the project from a longer term perspective. Figures have shown a steady decline in silt movement from the site reducing from 5.75 m3 in 2007 to 1.98 m3 in 2011. On this basis and because of the positive feedback and outcomes from the previous work done OLW reviewed what options it had with regard to the site.
Utilising the expertise of a visiting project officer from the Central West Catchment Authority who has erosion expertise an onsite review was made of the work previously done. Recommendations from the review were to carry the work downstream so all of the remaining section of the gully had check banks installed. From that it agreed between OLW and the land manager that the initial work would be completed and work commenced on another nearby gully that exhibited significantly different traits to the initial gully and that both sites be utilised as ongoing demonstration sites over the longer term.
Two banks were built with associated spillways in the 2013 dry season and measurements of silt run off were measured in June 2014. unfortunately the new banks were still holding a significant amount of water but bank subsidence had appeared to have raised the floor up at least a couple of metres, meaning none of that soil had been lost downstream. The likely cause of the subsidence was a significant downpour of around 500mm over a couple of days in February 2014 that caused a lot of regional flooding. However the older banks were accessible and measuring them indicated a slight increase of soil movement to 0.65cubic metres/ha for that wet season.
In summary the program that started in 2007 has proven that actively eroding gullies can be successfully rehabilitated using check backs to slow the flow of water through them. See news item – News
Best practice management strategies adopted by land managers that resulted in the protection and recovery of water resources and associated riparian and aquatic biodiversity.
Reduced impacts of erosion threatening production and aquatic and riparian biological diversity.
Greater understanding of landscape influences on land management.
Engagement of Indigenous and Non Indigenous land managers in the natural resource management process.
Verification of outcomes achieved
A survey was undertaken of those who attended project erosion workshops. The survey showed that attending landholders and employees were better able to plan and undertake erosion control works. This was demonstrated in on ground actions amounting to at least 2850 km of station roads and fence-lines assessed for potential erosion problems, and works undertaken where needed as a direct result of those workshops.
The bulk of the demonstration sites installed over the life of project are still in operation and successfully assisting in erosion remediation activities on site.
The Fire Forums and associated workshops successfully pulled together community members and stakeholders to give them information on the status of various fire related projects in northern Australia. From the pastoral forum came a coordinated burning between the Department of Environment and Conservation and landholders.
On request, a further 150 DVDs (50 initially distributed in WA) demonstrating erosion rehabilitation techniques that were produced as part of this project were distributed across all the Kimberley and Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Project benefits to the environment and the community
Landholders reducing the effects of erosion - leading to improved water quality.
Reduced infilling of waterways.
Improved vegetation retention and primary production in the Ord catchment.
Increased understanding of fire issues by the local community and stakeholders leading to a project to develop a local management plan and implement early season burning strategies.
Indigenous engagement. (expected)
Wet season flood events. (expected)
High rainfall in July 2007 (extremely unusual)
Fitting into landholder’s production schedules’ that were in turn dictated by weather and fire.
Other organisations engaged in project delivery
Various landholders and the Halls Creek East Kimberley LCDC partnered the project when property/equipment/labour was required for the grader schools and demonstration sites.
Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley agreed to maintain one demonstration site beyond the life of the project.
Victoria River District Conservation Association and the Halls Creek East Kimberley LCDC as partners in the erosion workshop.
Victoria River District Conservation Association and the Halls Creek East Kimberley LCDC as partners in the erosion DVD production and distribution.
Fire and Emergency Services Authority
Department of Agriculture and Food
Tropical Forestry Services
Tropical Savannas CRC
Kimberley Land Council
Miriwoong Gajerrong Corporation
Regional Landcare Facilitator
Halls Creek East Kimberley LCDC
Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley
Eco Fire Project
Department of Environment and Conservation
Carlton Hill Station
Various organisations and projects that supported the fire forums which included but was not limited to –