Summary Key Issues & Actions
Gully erosion is likely the dominant accelerated erosion process across the whole of northern Australia and the GBR catchments contributing to elevated river sediment loads.
To date there have been few effective management strategies employed that are targeting and addressing this problem.
Current models of delivering NRM funding are not effectively dealing with major concentrated areas of gully erosion, nor effectively reducing sediment yields. By default the management of gully erosion issues has been left almost entirely up to cattle graziers – with minimal effective assistance from government programs.
Given the poor economic state of Cape York Peninsula cattle industry at present, cattle graziers have little capacity to properly address this problem. As such the problem persists unchecked or accelerated under current paradigms.
With the predicted expansion of grazing intensity, mining and agriculture in northern Australia, the gully erosion problem will continue to increase if left unchecked (if nothing else through the expansion of the road network and growth of existing gullies).
A completely new approach and scale are required to address gully erosion if any real progress is to be made towards reducing sediment yields from rangeland grazing country, which is the primary source for sediment pollution to local river systems in northern Australia and the GBR.