The Australian Government’s Reef Trust, CSIRO and its partners have produced an industry guide for erosion control activities in the Great Barrier Reef catchments. This technical guide is known as the Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox.

[Music plays the CSIRO logo appears on a black screen]

[Image changes to show an area of bushland and the camera pans over the bushland and text appears: A key focus of protection and recovery efforts on the Great Barrier Reef are based in the catchments adjoining its coastline]

[Image continues to pan over the bushland and a male can be seen operating a Smartphone and new text appears: The Australian Government’s Reef Trust, CSIRO and its partners have produced an industry guide for erosion control activities in these catchments]

[Image changes to show a grassy area and the camera pans over the grassy area until sparsely grown trees can be seen and new text appears: This technical guide is known as the Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox]

[Camera pans over an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef and then the image changes to show Dr Scott Wilkinson talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Scott Wilkinson, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Landscape Evaluation]

Dr Scott Wilkinson: Much of the fine silt and clay sediment that comes out of rivers into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon comes from gullies and stream banks and these are vulnerable areas of the landscape which have steep surfaces and they’re also exposed to concentrated run off.

[Image changes to show photographs of teams of people standing, talking and working in a catchment area]

And that’s why gully and stream bank erosion control is the main approach that the government is using to reduce fine sediment loads into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.

[Image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera]

The CSIRO leads a technical team with some university collaborators and our job is to help support the design and the implementation of gully erosion control in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

[Camera pans over an aerial view of a male standing in a bushland area and the camera continues to pan over the bushland area]

The Toolbox has a set of processes for identifying the target sites for erosion control. They’re the sites that are going to be the most effective to save the most sediment and reduce the sediment loads to the Reef by the largest amount.

[Image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera]

And we also then help to design the types of activities that are done in each location so that it’s most effective.

[Image changes to show a photograph of a group of people walking through a bushland area and then the image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera]

So, the natural resource management professionals who are doing the erosion control using this Toolbox, work in conjunction with landholders to make sure that the works are effective for erosion control but also so that they integrate with the management of the property. And it’s important that we do have that partnership between landholders and natural resource managers so that the works are done in a way that’s safe and also so that it’s done in a way that’s sustainable for the long term.

[Image changes to show a photograph of a group of people standing in a bushland area near a car and then the image changes to show a river catchment area]

Works are being planned and implemented at more than a hundred properties and the sediment loads to the Great Barrier Reef have already reduced by thousands of tonnes as a result of this work.

[Camera pans over an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef and then the image changes to show a school of fish swimming over a coral reef]

By doing gully erosion control using this Toolbox Guide we’re helping to reduce the fine sediment and the attached nutrients that are getting out into the Reef Lagoon and that will then allow more light to penetrate into the water column and allow the coral and the sea grass to recover more quickly after really large flood events.

[Image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera and then the camera pans over an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon]

Our achievements to date are small relative to the size of the load reductions that are targeted for the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.

[Camera continues to pan over an aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef and then the image changes to show a male exiting a car and walking towards a test site and the camera pans over the test site]

So, we’ve got a lot of work to do yet and one of the big challenges that we’re having is to revegetate really degraded areas where the soil is hard and resistant to infiltration and so we need some more experiments to and some more work and some more trials to be done in that area.

[Image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera]

The first Toolbox came out in 2015 and then in 2016 we extended it to include stream banks. So, it’s now the Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox.

[Image changes to show a bushland area and text appears: Reef Trust Phase IV, Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox, 2nd Edition, June 2019, A technical guide for the Reef Trust Phase IV Gully and Stream Bank Erosion Control Program]

And now, three years later we’re producing a second edition to bring in some of the learnings that we’ve made from the erosion control programmes so far.

[Image changes to show Dr Wilkinson talking to the camera]

It’s really rewarding to see some of the outcomes and the case studies that are emerging from this work for example, some of those gully heads which are now stable. And we know that the Toolbox will continue to also evolve as our experience grows.

[Image changes to show a school of small colourful tropical fish swimming over a coral reef]

Together we’re going to continue to have success in improving water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.

[Music plays and CSIRO and sponsors’ logos and text appears on a blue screen: At CSIRO, We imagine. We collaborate. We innovate, CSIRO Reef Trust work is in collaboration with Griffith University, Australian National University and the Australian Government]

[Image changes to show small tropical fish swimming over coral and text appears: Find out more at www.environment.gov.au/marine/gbr/reeftrust/addressing-stream-bank-gully-erosion, www.csiro.au/en/Showcase/Great-Barrier-Reef, Additional footage supplied by Matt Curnock, Through the Looking Glass Studio and Tourism and Events Queensland]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO Australia’s innovation catalyst]

The Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox

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