REJUVENATING THE BARRON RIVER
The Green Corridor Project is a long-term initiative aimed at restoring the health of the Barron River, through revegetation along the riverbanks. By increasing the area of native riparian vegetation, the project aims to reduce weed growth and pest invasion, create new habitat for native wildlife, stabilise eroding riverbanks, and improve the quality of the water on its way to the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.
The Green Corridor Project brings together landholders, communities, managers and businesses who depend on the river and will benefit from its restoration.
An iconic project
The Green Corridor Project is an iconic project for Barron Catchment Care, made possible through the vision and enthusiasm of community members and generous sponsorship of corporate partners.
In 2005, Cairns Port Authority made a commitment to fund the project for three years, donating $250,000 per year. With this commitment, Barron Catchment Care was able to leverage additional donations and in-kind contributions from other sponsors, reaching a total investment of $1,500,000 for the first three years of the project.
For a community group, usually dependent on government funding, the high level of funding gave the project special features over three years which contributed to the impressive achievements:
- The appointment of a designated project manager and site supervisor to ensure that works happen according to contractual requirements and business principles
- A larger scale of revegetation (20ha annually) than previously undertaken and with a mix of methodologies
- Quarterly reporting against key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed to by all partners, and quarterly reports delivered to key stakeholders.
With the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and privatisation of the Cairns Port Authority, it was no longer feasible for the Green Corridor’s corporate sponsors to continue high-level funding, resulting in the loss of the dedicated project manager and site supervisor positions by 2009. These roles have been absorbed by Barron Catchment Care’s Catchment Coordinator.
The Green Corridor Project remains a project under Barron Catchment Care, for ongoing maintenance activities and smaller-scale site-specific revegetation projects being undertaken in partnership with landholders, community groups, local government and businesses, and funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Program (Reef Rescue).
The Barron Delta is a key focus for new community engagement activities in revegetation and habitat restoration as part of the ongoing Green Corridor commitment.
Landholder Agreements and Technical Site Plans
With so much money invested in each revegetation site the respective roles of all parties are formalised through a simple two-page Landholder Agreement with Barron Catchment Care.
The Agreement captures mutual responsibilities, including that of the landholder to protect the investment from damage by people and livestock.
Linked to the Landholder Agreement, for management, monitoring and communication purposes, detailed information has been collected and recorded for each of the Green Corridor sites through Technical Site Plans.
The five components of these plans are:
- General site details – landholder, location and site information
- Planting objectives and the approach to be taken in different plots within the site
- Implementation schedule – what jobs need to be done, when and by whom
- Species list and densities for each plot
- GIS aerial photograph map of the site showing where the rehabilitation will occur.
Combined, these documents provide an excellent record of the intent and progress of each revegetation project for monitoring and reporting purposes.
Progress along the Green Corridor
Since its launch in 2005, the Green Corridor Project has stamped its mark on the Barron Catchment:
91ha (cash cost/ha - $12,090/ha, 3000 trees)
110,893 (cash cost/tree - $4.02)
$2,253,503 - $1,100,188 cash; $1,153,315 in-kind
Green Corridor Project Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) June 2010
The environmental and social benefits of the project are enormous and will extend into the long-term as revegetation and rehabilitation activities continue, the plantings mature and attract native wildlife, the water quality of the Barron River improves, and local communities and visitors enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing.
SPONSORS AND STAKEHOLDERS
Cairns Airport (CAPL) (2010-present): Contributed $30,00 in 2010/11 and $20,000 in 2011/12. Under an MOU (2010-13) Barron Catchment Care team does maintenance on Redden Island. The Redden Island Nature Walk was developed in partnership with CAPL, local Traditional Owners and a professional botanist.
Cairns Port Authority (CPA) (2005-2009): Entered into a three year agreement with Barron Catchment Care in 2005 to provide financial and other support for the implementation of the project, with an option of two further years of support. The value of the Cairns Port Authority’s commitment is over $750,000. The high level of funding made it possible for Barron Catchment Care to use innovative methods throughout the project.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) (2005-present): Provided $10,000 annually for 3 years (2005-09) to educate the community on how this project will help to implement the Reef Guardians Schools Program, and other GBRMPA activities, to protect the Great Barrier Reef. GBRMPA continues to work with a local school as part of the Barron Delta project.
Cairns River Improvement Trust (2005-2008): $20,000 annually for 3 years for works within the river to help stabilise the banks.
Cairns Regional Council (CRC): In-kind support annually ($20,000 per annum in 2005-2008), involving supply of plants for revegetation, and help with site preparation from Council staff.
Tablelands Regional Council (TRC): In-kind support through supply of plants from Council nurseries, and help from technical staff.
Theiss (2006): Offset payment of in 2006 as part of the Cairns Navy Base refurbishment, to compensate for loss of environmental values in the Theiss works.
Boral: Have been in partnership with CVA for more than 20 years. Each year they sponsor a volunteer team to work for a week on environmental projects. For the past few years the Boral team have worked with Kuranda Envirocare on the Myola revegetation site.
Queensland Rail (QR) (2009-2013): Committed to 4 years of rehabilitation investment at four Green Corridor sites along the Kuranda to Cairns railway track. The pilot projects will demonstrate the benefits of rehabilitation, including biodiversity, reduced track maintenance costs, and enhanced visitor experience.
Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), with extensive experience of coordinating volunteers in revegetation and conservation projects, work closely with our team on the Green Corridor sites.
Terrain NRM, the Regional NRM Body, is the overall Project Manager. Responsibilities of this position include ensuring that the Action Management Plan is effectively implemented, gaining new sponsors and maintaining relationships with them, and encouraging community involvement and engagement. Terrain NRM continues to fund the position of Barron Catchment Care Coordinator, and hosts the new Land Management Team.
- Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT)
- Kuranda Envirocare
- Lake Eacham Landcare
- Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group
- Lake Eacham Nursery (QPWS/ DERM)
- Cairns City Council Nursery
- School for Field Studies
Volunteers from these groups provide help in various roles, including seed collection and propagation, plant selection, site preparation, planting and maintenance.