Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Coral reefs need clean, clear water if they are to withstand the impacts of climate change, but every year millions of tonnes of sediment runs off land into marine ecosystems.
For the Great Barrier Reef, run-off from adjacent catchments is a major cause of declining water quality. Sediment run-off clouds water and reduces the light available to plants and corals, restricting growth and affecting marine life.
The Reef Trust Partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Australian Government includes $201 million for projects aimed at improving water quality on the Reef in line with the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
The Foundation selected Project Pioneer in our first round of water quality grants because of its proven methods of increasing ground cover in grazing lands and reducing fine sediment run-off onto the Reef.
Project Pioneer has successfully reduced fine sediment pollution within very high, high and moderate priority catchments. It has worked with 150 grazing businesses to improve land management practices, covering a total area of more than 1.3 million hectares. This fantastic result exceeds the targets set by the project.
SCIENCE & PROGRAM PARTNER
WWF Australia has a strong interest in promoting and supporting sustainable beef production in Australia and has been an active partner throughout the delivery of Project Pioneer.
WWF’s support began with assistance with the production of case studies and a video showcasing innovative grazing families participating in the Project.
In later years, WWF Australia and RCS Australia embarked on field surveys to quantify the impact of Project Pioneer on land condition, ground cover and water quality in Great Barrier Reef catchments. The results of our comparative surveys to date have shown how dramatic the impact of good land management can be on land condition, ground cover and the quality of storm water run-off into Great Barrier Reef catchments. The correlation of these factors to productivity and resilience is also evident.
There are many rewarding aspects for WWF as a result of its involvement in Project Pioneer. In addition to the significant contributions beef producers are making to improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef through improved water quality, Project Pioneer has been rewarding for WWF Australia in the depth and strength of relationships that have been forged.
Central Queensland University
Central Queensland University’s (CQUni) Coastal Marine Research Ecosystems Centre contributed research in the area of measuring sediment run-off from paired properties, to compare the difference between regenerative grazing and traditional grazing methods on sediment and water quality.
CQUni worked with WWF and RCS in delivering this project. Trial results were provided in a detailed report. The Project aligns with CQUni’s ethos of working with community and industry groups to develop practical solutions to real-world problems.
What has been the most rewarding part has been the tangible evidence obtained by the research and its potential to encourage more landholders to adopt regenerative grazing practices.
The Reef and its health is central to the communities which CQUni serves along the Queensland coast. There is clear evidence of the connection between land management and sediment loads reaching the reef catchment. CQUni is committed to working with primary producers to identify innovative solutions to improve land management without impacting productivity.
Maia Grazing’s purpose is to help farmers produce high quality food for a good return, while improving their land, through adoption of improved grazing management across the livestock industry.
We provided access to MaiaGrazing automated grazing management decision support tool and associated support services, together with product training webinars and engagement workshops. We also undertook extensive data analysis to report on the level of engagement of participants, the degree of adoption of rotational gazing principles, and production outcomes as a result of adoption in terms of gross production and carrying capacity.
We believe that Project Pioneer is an exemplar that leads the way in how to achieve mainstream industry adoption of improved grazing management, and we seek to use it as a template for future initiatives and to assist our customers to get the most out of the MaiaGrazing tool.
The most rewarding part of our involvement was seeing the “light bulb moments” when participants gain insight into what improved grazing management means for them and how valuable it can be for their business.
There is an enormous shift in capacity to make confident decisions around land management when Project Pioneer participants build a relationship between the physical domain they see and interact with daily, and their grazing data within the MaiaGrazing tool.
FarmMap4D partnered with Project Pioneer by offering participants access to its online mapping and property planning tools, and assisting RCS with project and sustainability reporting.
Recognising the important role producers can play in influencing the health of the Reef, FarmMap4D collaborated with Project Pioneer to assist producers objectively analyse and report groundcover growth and to demonstrate how management decisions can impact the ecological system of their property.
For FarmMap4D, the most rewarding part of the Project has been the opportunity to work as part of an integrated program and partner with producers to achieve better ecological and business outcomes for their grazing operations.
Blue Hill PR
Blue Hill PR is deeply connected to the communities that Project Pioneer has had such a strong and positive impact on.
Its founder, Stacey Wordsworth, grew up on a cattle property in the Fitzroy Basin of Central Queensland, very similar to many of those which have been transformed through the work of the Project.
As a communication agency, Blue Hill PR combined its farming heritage and deep understanding of agribusiness with extensive experience across public relations, content creation, and strategy to tell the rich and triumphant stories of Project Pioneer participants.
Blue Hill PR’s belief that a thriving agriculture industry is good for people, good for business and good for the world, strongly aligned with Project Pioneer’s mission to support profitable and ecologically prosperous grazing businesses.
GET IN TOUCH
Want to talk more about Project Pioneer, or how RCS can help you deliver industry-leading results?
Project Pioneer is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The project is delivered by RCS with support from WWF, Maia Technology, Farm Map 4D and CQUniversity.