Queensland Branch - May 2016 Newsletter

Contents: (click a title to go directly to the article)

Presidents Report   |   Editors Report   |  Events Calendar   |  Talking Soils at Woodfordia  |  Costa at Corinda   |   Student night recap  |  Conference  |  Book review |  Queensland soil conservation guidelines  |  Reef Water Quality Science Program |  Previous OGM Minutes: 12 May 201612 May 2016


Event reminder: Ordinary General Meeting

Soil logo and CPSS logo


You're invited to join the Queensland Branch at their upcoming event

Art in Soil Science OGM - Let's get Dirty

When: Thursday 7 July

Time: 6pm nibbles for a 7pm meeting

Where: Ecosciences Precinct, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park

Click here to register:

The Art in Soil Science Initiative is designed to bring the public to soils and soils to the public. We have embraced the theme “Let’s get Dirty” as one to win back ‘dirt’ as a positive notion and as an open invitation to participate. The OGM form is a bit different, with an extended networking and unstructured discussion section attended by not just our members but numerous invited artists. The aim of the night will be to commence this discussion about what art and science have to offer one another and how they can help raise our profile. We will hear fromMr Simon Meeand Dr Renata Buziak on how art has engaged the public in interesting ways, and then have an open discussion on how the Art in Soil Science initiative might look. So, come along and get involved!

Dr Renata Buziak

Native to Poland, Renata Buziak's interest in photography began there before her relocation to Australia in 1991. From obscure close ups of the human form to aerial and macro photography, her work confirms her affinity for and intimacy with the natural world. Renata's current projects focus on the process of organic decomposition and its effect on photographic materials. The resultant images of this 'biochrome' process reflect natural environmental processes and their significance in life cycle.

Simon Mee 

Simon draws inspiration from everyday surroundings, art history and the news. These provide him with the appropriate scenarios for investigating personal, social and artistic issues that interest or concern him.  

 We look forward to seeing you there!


From the President

Doesn’t time just fly? We are approaching the July 7th OGM and the August 12th AGM at rapid pace. This year we set the task of raising the profile of soil science, and at the last OGM we heard from Prof Neal Menzies about the fact that soil science, and agriculture in general, has an image problem. Well, at our next OGM we will have the chance to participate in changing this. The Art in Soil Science Initiative is designed to bring the public to soils and soils to the public. We have embraced the theme “Let’s get Dirty” as one to win back ‘dirt’ as a positive notion and as an open invitation to participate. The OGM form is a bit different, with an extended networking and unstructured discussion section attended by not just our members but numerous invited artists. The aim of the night will be to commence this discussion about what art and science have to offer one another and how they can help raise our profile. We will hear from Mr Simon Mee and Dr Renata Buziak on how art has engaged the public in interesting ways, and then have an open discussion on how the Art in Soil Science initiative might look. So, come along and get involved!

In 2015 we were all saddened to hear the Bruce Carey, known well for his enthusiasm in extending soil science, passed away. It was agreed that we would introduce a branch level award in his memory to continue to honour the importance of extending soil science within Soil Science Australia and the general public. Just last week we sent out the open invitation to nominate early to mid-career soils researchers and professionals. I encourage you to embrace this opportunity.

Finally, don’t forget that applications for sponsorship to the soils conference are due in by end of this month. This is a fantastic opportunity for student and early career members to get involved with the broader soils community. So, if you haven’t got your application in, get cracking.

See you all on the 7th of July.

Dr John McLean Bennett CPSS


From the Editor

Hello all,

Welcome to the June/July newsletter. I can’t believe that 2016 is nearly half over. It’s gone so fast. In the next year we have decided to try something new for the newsletters. We are going to start up monthly smaller newsletters to replace the quarterly ones. However, for this to work, contribution from the members to the newsletters is crucial. So any time you publish something, attend a lecture or any other interesting event, let us know about it. We will love to include it into the newsletter. The newsletter is not possible without member contribution. Just email qld@soilscienceaustralia.org

The 2016 AGM will be held in Toowoomba on the 12th August at Encores Restaurant. A bus will be provided for Brisbane residents at a cost of $10. The cost for members for dinner will be released on the website next week. It will be a great chance to reflect on the year gone by and to plan for the year coming. We will also take this as a chance to thank our outgoing president John Bennett and welcome Mark Crawford into the role.

We have now started a new system where you can express your interest for any upcoming events and be notified as the event comes up. Make sure you take advantage of this. https://soilscienceaustralia.memnet.com.au/MemberSelfService/EventList.aspx

For example, those wishing to attend the soil judging event on the 19th July should click this link and register their interest.

Remember I would love to include any amazing soil science moments you have into the newsletter. So if you have captured a great moment, send in the photos and I will make sure they are included in the newsletter.

Thanks to all,




2016 Queensland Branch Calendar of Events

Please block out the following dates in your calendar. Click the links below to register your interest in receiving more information closer to the event.

7 July OGM
19 July Queensland Soil Judging competition
12 August AGM
16 October OGM
18 November Pioneers Dinner
5 December World Soil Day
12-16 Dec NZ / Soil Science Australia Conference

Membership renewal reminder

 Its time to rewew your membership

A reminder that 2016 subscriptions are now overdue, payment can be made via your online portal.  

Have you forgotten your password or can't remember how to download a tax receipt from your member portal? Click here for instructions: http://soilscienceaustralia.org/membership/faq-s 

Alternatively, please contact Caroline via membership@soilscienceaustralia.org


Talking soils at Woodfordia!

 The Queensland branch of SSA was asked along to talk about soils at The Planting festival on the 30th April http://theplantingfestival.com/. The festival is held on a 500-acre parkland located on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, on Jinibara Country, which is just over 1 hour north of Brisbane.

The festival land (now known as Woodfordia) was purchased in July 1994 for the purpose of securing a permanent home for the then Maleny Folk Festival.  In 1997 the tree planting weekends commenced and since then over 100,000 trees have been planted on the site. This project has made considerable inroads in transforming the site from a dairy farm to parklands dedicated to the arts and humanities and folklore, and festival goers are now able to camp in the shade of trees that they themselves planted.

Not having been to the Woodford Folk festival or a Planting festival before we went into this not really knowing what to expect or what people wanted to know about the soils here (after all some of the people had been digging in these soils on site for over 20 years).

So we gave a talk - 'Wombats, test wickets and wine – there is more to the soil beneath your feet!' and outlined some of the key messages from the IYS– that without soils we would be hungry,  naked and homeless, that healthy soils are essential for healthy people, and that it comes down to sustainably managing our soils. The presentation, attended by about 100 people, was received with enthusiasm – there is always a bit of a shock when you tell people that only ~2% of Queensland’s land is suitable for growing agricultural crops!

Many people were keen to come out afterward with us for a walk around the Woodfordia site to discuss the soils there– after all we were at a Planting Festival!

After making people walk up to the Main Amphitheatre in 30 degree heat! (Don’t think we are quite forgiven for that one) we settled in for a chat under a large tree looking out over the valley.  People were keen to know why the soils at Woodford were so different and how come they changed greatly over a very short space?  So we talked soil formation (it also helped to have a geologist with us in the group by chance). The conversation grew with people telling others of their own experiences with farming and also with urban gardening. A lot was discussed – from soil biology and questions asked on how do you measure it? Why do certain vegetation species grow on particular soils? Do the trees adapt to certain soils (like very acid soils) or do the trees influence the soil properties themselves? And Gypsum (a bit of a bugbear for John!) …...... why is it called a clay breaker?

So whilst we went into this festival not knowing what people wanted to talk about or what to expect we came out with the knowledge that that is exactly what people wanted………….knowledge. Sitting around under a tree talking about soils and sharing knowledge and experiences makes for a fantastic morning. It was a great day with some great people – and we look forward to being back at The Planting in 2017!



Main Amphitheatre and looking out over the valley at Woodfordia. 

Costa at Corinda


Student Night Recap


On Thursday the Queensland Branch of Soil Science Australia held its annual student awards night hosted by Dr Wayne Hall, Executive Director -Agri-Science Queensland. This night celebrated the achievements of our undergraduates and postgraduate students.

Undergraduate Students

Each university nominated one student based on excellence on soil science. This award can be for a student with high performance in an honours thesis, or for outstanding performance in soils related university courses/programs. The following were awarded:


 Undergraduate Student University  Blurb 
Theresa Orr  James Cook University  Theresa completed ‘EA2007 Applied Soil Science’ and ‘EA3007 Field Studies in Tropical Soil and Water Science’ in 2015, and achieved the highest mark of the class in both subjects.  She produced consistently outstanding work (lab reports, field work reports, essay and exam).
Ben Hall  Griffith University  Ben was in the top 5% of students in the Land Management course and Ben received full marks on the Soil Field Trip.  Ben is continuing his undergrad as an honours student with a topic relating to soil science.  We believe he is going to have a bright future in the field of soil science.
 Stirling Roberton  University of Southern Queensland  Completed First Class Honours, with Awards and University medal in 2015: "Managing field moisture to reduce the soil compaction risk at cotton harvest.
Fredrico Cicchelli   University of Queensland Completed Honours in 2015: “Overhead-irrigation of saline and alkaline water: Deleterious effects on foliage of Rhodes grass and leucaena”


Each of the students nominated were given a chance to present on a topic of their choice. The award on the night would be awarded to the student with the best presentation skills as they had already been selected on the merits of their work. One the night all 4 students presented very well, however there was a clear winner. The judging panel chose Theresa Orr as the winner due to the passion with which she spoke about her topic. To many the concept of paleosols is quite new but Theresa presented is very clearly and coherently so all could understand. 

Theresa Orr Photo

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Science (Geology) at James Cook University, Townsville, with 2016 my third and final year of my undergraduate degree. During my study I have maintained a strong focus on soil science, whilst augmenting my studies with hydrology and geochemistry. I am hoping to commence an Honours project in 2017 focusing on paleosols, in an effort to enhance my knowledge of soil science and geology in unison. Research on the morphology and mineralogy, in addition to the classification of a paleoso. l will provide indications of the pedogenetic evolution of the soil and its local environment at the time of formation. I am hoping to conduct a research project that will enable the determination of estimates for relative rates of erosion, sedimentation and aggradation, mean temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the formation of the soil. I find the study of paleosols intriguing in its ability to take advantage of skills obtained from the study of both geological and soil sciences. Furthermore, I anticipate this research will provide me a platform to improve my understanding of soil and rock relations and deliver some additional data on environments over a range of timescales.

Ben Hall

My name is Ben Hall and I am studying at Environmental Science at the Griffith University (Nathan campus). Currently I am doing my Honours with DSITI looking at how the rate of mineralization of nitrogen changes during the transition from fresh water to sea water.Ben

The experiment will use soils collected form sugar cane crops and grazing lands in the Johnstone catchment. These soils will then be used to create sediments that will be incubated for various amounts of time after which the inorganic nitrogen levels will be measured. The results will then help us improve the modelling of nitrogen cycling as sediments enter the Great Barrier Reef. I am interested in this project due to the issues that the Great Barrier Reef is currently facing.

For my Approved Topic I am also looking at how the properties of lantana stem biochar varies compared to the properties of leaf biochar. The use of biochar has the potential to remove lantana and produce additives that can improve the properties of soil. This is a preliminary experiment to see if there is any benefit of separating stem and leaves in order to create superior biochar soil additive. More accurate cost benefit models can be generated by potential producers/users as more is learnt about biochar products.

Both of these projects are still underway and I look forward to finding out what the results are.

Stirling Roberton  stirling

I graduated from the University of Southern Queensland at the end of last year (2015) with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) majoring in Agriculture. I was lucky enough to receive an APA scholarship to commence my PhD this year in Precision Agriculture, focusing on 'Big-data' as a tool for on-farm decision making.

During my honours year in my undergraduate studies, I undertook a CRDC funded research project looking at the efficacy of delaying cotton defoliation to mitigate compaction risk at a wet harvest. Undertaking the project was a great experience as I learned how to work with impromptu challenges that often arise during field trials. From the project, I was able to show that delaying defoliation did result in lower soil moisture content at harvest and thus reduced compaction risk; however this difference was proved to not be of a significant magnitude. The project is currently in the review process for publication. The project gave me a great insight into agricultural research and encouraged me into further study. I am extremely passionate about Australian agriculture and look forward to having a valued impact on the industry

Federico Cicchelli Fedrico

Australian born (Nanango, Queensland), I spent most of my life in Italy. In 2009, I decided to come back to Queensland to spend some great holiday time with my cousin Donato. It was love at first sight, I loved Brisbane and Queensland therefore I decided to stay.

Once living in Australia, I started to work as a waiter, then construction laborer, and finally moving to a position as a School Officer. Meantime, I studied English since my proficiency with the language was quite poor when I moved back from Italy.

In 2015, I completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) at the University of Queensland. I also worked as a Research Assistant and conducted my research within the Soil Science Research Group.

The study conducted as part of my Honours program investigated the effects of the overhead irrigation of saline-sodic and alkaline water on foliage of Rhodes grass and leucaena. The research paper featuring my findings was also published in an international peer-reviewed journal: “Cicchelli, F. D., Wehr, J. B., Dalzell, S. A., Li, C., Menzies, N. W., & Kopittke, P. M. (2016). Overhead-irrigation with saline and alkaline water: Deleterious effects on foliage of Rhodes grass and leucaena. Agricultural Water Management169, 173-182”. Topic of the research was chosen because in low-rainfall environments, the extraction of saline and alkaline groundwaters could provide a potentially valuable resource for agricultural production. However, much of the water in the Great Artesian Basin is saline and alkaline, with the electrical conductivity (EC) values typically ranging from 1 to > 10 dS/m. Therefore, it is important that the irrigation of these waters does not result in degradation of the soil resource and that it does not reduce agricultural production.


Postgraduate Students

A postgraduate award for best doctoral thesis concerning soils from a Queensland university sup

ervised candidate is awarded annually. There were two nominations for students who conferred their doctorate of philosophy on soils in 2015: 

Student University Topic
Mehran Rezaei Rashti    Griffith University Nitrous oxide emissions from vegetable cropping systems
Qi Shao Univeristy of Queensland Surface Hydrological Modelling for Rehabilitated Landforms


Queensland Branch President John Bennett stated that there were two judges who assessed the Postgraduate Award. 

Award presentation

The judges stated that each study included a comprehensive literature review and carried out detailed investigations at plot/glasshouse scales, expanded to field scales evaluating components of identified research needs.  In each case this expanded on scientific knowledge applicable to the science fields beyond that directly related to the specific research studies, being for Researcher Rashti, the soil processes that produce the Greenhouse relevant nitrous oxide; and for Researcher Shao, the infiltration processes that occur under a range of rainfall events and soil conditions.  The practical application of the findings in each study provided pointers for further research aimed at improved environmental outcomes within their respective fields.

The postgraduate award for the 2015 conferred doctoral thesis was awarded to Dr Mehran Rezaei Rashti. 

The winner of the 2015 Postgraduate Award, Dr Rashti to come forward and receive his certificate from Dr. Wayne Hall.  Dr Rashti was selected as his thesis was relevant to Queensland’s climate regime; it gave practical application of improved management practices for many vegetable producers; and it defined further research needs that could lead to more effective management practices, with further improved environmental outcomes.

Mehran Rezaei Rashti Meenaz

I am a Post-Doc research fellow (soil science) at Environmental Futures Research Institute (Griffith University). I graduated from the Guilan University (Iran) with MSc (Soil Physics and Conservation) and BSc (soil science) and from the Griffith University with a PhD in soil science. My research interests include soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics and their interactions in agro-ecosystems. I have also been working in areas related to soil and water environmental chemistry and remediation in the early years of my career. In the past five years I mainly focused on N fertiliser use efficiency and strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in intensively managed cropping systems. I am currently investigating the effect of plant residue, compost and biochar amendments on soil carbon and nitrogen cycles in agricultural systems and revegetated lands. As a member of soil science group in Griffith University I am involved in many small and big projects allowing me to learn new things every day from my good and supportive friends. In my free times (although it is getting less and less during the past couple of years), I really enjoy swimming and bush walking with family and friends.  




It gives us great pleasure to invite you to the joint conference of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science and Soil Science Australia. The conference will be held in one of the most iconic places of New Zealand, Queenstown, and will run from 12-16 December 2016.

The overarching theme of the conference is ‘Soil, a Balancing Act Down-under’ and reflects the challenges we are facing in managing our soils to reach a careful balance between many, often competing, land-use, productivity and environmental aspirations. A central question of the conference is “What is required from soil science and soil scientists, now and in the future, to enable society to achieve the balance?”

We have an exciting line-up of plenary speakers covering a wide range of topics, from soil fertility, to soil biology, greenhouse gases, land use intensification and future farming challenges and opportunities. The conference will be structured around the following key themes:

  • Pedology, soil landscapes and spatial mapping
  • Balancing soils physical function and their management in the environment
  • Effective management of nutrients and water
  • The living soils: macro/micro biology
  • Protecting our soil resource from degradation & contamination
  • Soils and climate change
  • Balanced solutions at a farm system and catchment scale
  • Advances in soil science for improved decision making

We also anticipate that the conference will include a debate between leading science, industry and policy representatives to challenge the question whether soil science can provide the solutions that will allow us to continue to ‘eat of our cake …’ so to speak.

It promises to be an exciting conference and we are looking forward to welcoming you in Queenstown in December.

On behalf of the organising committee,
Cecile de Klein (AgResearch)
Conference convenor

Abstract Submissions

Submission Instructions:

Authors willing to present their work at the conference, either as a Oral Presentation or Poster Presentation are required to submit a short abstract. 

The conference organising committee invites submissions in any one of the themes listed below that best suits your presentation.

The presenting author will be required to register for the Conference in order to ensure their abstract(s) is included in the final programme. Presenting authors whose abstract has been accepted for presentation,must registerfor the Conference by15 October 2016. Presenters who have not registered by this time will be removed from the programme.

The abstract word limits is 300 words and are to be submitted via theonline submission portal here

If you require assistance please emaillea@on-cue.co.nz or phone +64 3 546 6330

The deadlines and submission procedures are detailed below.

Dates of the conference 12 - 16 Dec, 2016
Deadline for the submission of abstracts 4 July, 2016
Notification of acceptance of abstracts 4 Sept, 2016

Sponsorship and Soil judging

The Queensland Branch is pleased to announce to members that funding support is being made available to attend the 2016 Joint Australian and New Zealand Soils Conference - Soil, a Balancing Act Down under – which occurs from 12-16 December 2016. In conjunction with the Federal Office of Soil Science Australia, we will support 4 student members, as well as an additional 3 early career professional/researcher members to attend. All applicants will need to have submitted an abstract and provide a copy of that abstract with their submission.

Student members applying will be required to participate as part of the 2016 Queensland soil judging team. Early career members are defined as those within 5 years of having started their soil science career (non-PhD qualified), or within five years of having conferred their PhD.

Full details for both student and early career applicants can be found in the attachment. Please note both applications are in the attached document; the student application starts on page four.

Submissions are due by COB 30th June 2016 and we will endeavour to announce the successful applicants at the 7th July 2016 Ordinary General Meeting

Book review - This Thankful Earth Book

When an elderly couple bought a run-down farm near a small town in southern Queensland, Australia, their neighbours thought the old people were just enjoying their retirement on a ‘hobby block’.  It took a while for the message to sink in that these old folk were about to challenge long-held local myths about land and farming. Soon it was seen that water was being pumped from a bore which had previously been declared ‘dry’. Edible grasses and clovers replaced the tough, spikey weeds which had infested the farm. Trees were planted and thrived despite a lack of irrigation. The farm became prosperous again.

‘This thankful Earth’ is a record of the combined thoughts, ideas and hard work of two people with a common heritage of caring for the land and all its inhabitants.

Soil Science Australia members were asked to review this book and these can be read on the SSA website http://soilscienceaustralia.org/branch-news

CPSS 60th Anniversary Offer

 CPSS Offer

New edition of the Queensland soil conservation guidelines

Peter Shilton

(Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines)


On 31 August 2015, the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, launched the latest edition of the Soil Conservation Guidelines for Queensland. This is the third edition of the soil conservation guideline from the Queensland Government since 1965. Queensland is now the only state that produces this type of comprehensive soil conservation publication.

Summary of Contents   Guidelines

Following the introductory chapter, there is a chapter on soil conservation planning in which the principles of soil conservation are described, the types of soil erosion explained, and the history of soil conservation in Queensland outlined. Chapter 3 is on peak discharge estimation. Chapters 4 and 5 provide details of the empirical version of the rational method and the Darling Downs flood frequency version of the rational method. Next are chapters on channel design principles, contour banks, diversion banks and waterways. Chapter 10, a new chapter, is devoted to land management on floodplains reflecting calls for more information on this topic following widespread destruction from flooding in 2012 and 2013. Chapter 11 is on stream stability.

Chapters 12 through to 14, all new chapters, address soil conservation in horticulture, gully control and property infrastructure respectively. The chapter on gully control is particularly important given recent evidence of its contribution to erosion of the Great Barrier Reef catchment, and the consequent deposition of sediment into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The chapter on property infrastructure concerns the role of property infrastructure – roads, tracks, fencing, gateways, stockyards and related infrastructure, as well as firebreaks, watering points, irrigation infrastructure and pipelines – on soil erosion.

Appendices include an Excel-based design program, RAMWADE (Rational Method for Waterway Design) which provides a simple hydrologic/hydraulic design program particularly suited to rural areas where there is frequently a lack of rainfall/ runoff data; an overview of Land Capability and Land Suitability classifications that are applicable to Queensland; and, a list of plant species suitable for stabilising runoff control structures. 

Background to the Guidelines

The Guidelines are an intensely practical guide to soil conservation in Queensland, based as they are on the work and experience of the hundreds of soil conservation officers employed by the Queensland Government from the 1930s through to the 1990s. It was during this period, and especially between the 1930s and the early 1970s, that soil erosion in parts of Queensland reached critical proportions. The culmination was the summer of 1972-73 when significantly heavy rain on the Darling Downs resulted in massive soil erosion and soil loss. In terms of severity, in 1950 it was estimated that 2 per cent of the land under cropping in Queensland had been withdrawn from cropping due to soil erosion.

About the Authors

The principal authors, the late Bruce Carey and Barry Stone, brought to the document more than 90 years of combined experience (and wisdom) on soil conservation and land management in the Queensland public service. Both men come from the farm extension tradition that featured a cohort of government extension officers who, through experience and training, were recognised experts in their field, and whose advice was free to farmers; the maintenance of strong professional links between government and farmers; and, an ethos of service to the farmers in their respective districts. The other two authors, Phil Norman and Peter Shilton, have considerable experience in land management and land planning respectively.  

Bruce Carey, a recipient of the Teakle Award for his outstanding effort in promoting and raising awareness of soil science in Australia, passed away before the project was completed. Bruce had retired from the Queensland Public Service a couple of years previously due to ill-health but he took it upon himself to complete the Guidelines during retirement. With his typical dry humour, Bruce would explain that the project got him out of bed in the morning! The other contributors to the document - Barry Stone, Phil Norman and the present writer - became involved when it became obvious that Bruce would not be able to finish the document without assistance, and if that happened, all of Bruce’s knowledge and experience would be lost forever. All three therefore worked closely with Bruce but it was Barry Stone, with his substantial expertise and experience, who worked with Bruce to provide comprehensive editing and other, more substantial refinements.    

Role of the Guidelines

As noted, the days of government- funded rural extension services to assist rural landholders are no longer or are in decline. Today, instead, there are a range of sources for soil conservation advice that include NRM groups, industry-based services and private consultants. In many cases the advice provided is excellent but in other cases it is less so. One of the problems is the increase in short-term employment of professional staff based on contracts and defined projects, which achieve short term goals but do not necessarily contribute to longer term, more sustainable land management outcomes. Significant too, has been the decline in the availability of tertiary soil courses with consequent implications for the quality of advice.

In this environment, the Guidelines have the potential to play acritical role as a point-of-truth for soil conservation practice in Queensland. In this role, it is envisaged that all stakeholders would come to see the document as a baseline document that would, at least, provide them with the information to guide them on options to address land degradation from water-based erosion.      

The Guidelines are already contributing to the development of management guidelines for state’s stock route network; management of pipeline installation to minimise the external impacts of resource development as well as utilities; and, of course, minimising sedimentation in the GBR lagoon from soil erosion in the catchment.

However, the main market for the Guidelines must be Queensland farmers who, through their activities, are entrusted with the stewardship of most of the land in Queensland.  It is to this group that much effort will be devoted to communicate the existence, availability and contents of the Guidelines. 

The Guidelines as a ‘Living Document’

A feature of the Guidelines since their inception has been the way that practitioners have contributed to its content through the trial and error that comes with practical experience in soil conservation. This is also the case with the third edition. For example, since its publication, Barry Stone has been working with Alison Vieritz from DSITI to update and republish RAMWADE and Phil Norman has been working with soil experts in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to develop a new chapter on Managing Grazing Lands, hopefully to be available later this year.

In addition, the present author has been liaising with various organisations such as colleges and regional bodies to promote the use of the Guidelines.  And we have been quite pleased with the responses: one correspondent, for example, has described the Guidelines as “…a breath of fresh air”.  What more needs to be said!


The guidelines can be accessed at Soil Conservation Guidelines for Queensland  on the Queensland Publications Portal.


Reef Water Quality Science Program - Anita Leahy

This program aims to help producers better manage cane growing and grazing lands in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin Dry Tropics, Mackay-Whitsunday and Fitzroy Basin catchments, and minimise their impacts upon the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Significant funding allocated to the Reef Water Quality Science Program (RWQSP) is being directed to research, extension and monitoring.

In the first phase of theReef Water Quality Science Program(PDF), commencing in 2009, we reviewed the science framework and research priorities underpinning the science program with input from industry, scientific experts, NRM groups and other stakeholders.

This aimed to ensure that decisions and advice for land managers are based on strong, defensible evidence, that tools and support can be provided to land managers, and, that the findings are available to support and extend other reef science agendas. $8.9 million has been invested in the first five-year phase of theReef Water Quality Science Program(PDF), delivering approximately 40 projects that have strong relevance to farm extension, giving producers more information, reassurance and tools to assess their current management against best practice.

Successful projects underwent external peer review which highlighted that most projects had scientific merit and priority was given to projects influencing outcomes for cane and grazing systems and addressing key gaps in Reef Plan (including Paddock to Reef) science.

In 2015, under phase 2 of the program, we released the Reef Water Quality Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2014–15 to 2018–19(PDF, 1.4MB) which describes our research and investment priorities to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural land use.

In particular this strategy identifies key research gaps and aims to bridge these by generating vital evidence about nutrient, pesticide and erosion management to help primary producers and extension providers to put in place practice improvement actions.


In May this year the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection invited comments on an Addendum to theReef Water Quality Research, Development and Innovation Strategy(RD&I Strategy). Thank-you to those who provided comments, your input has been invaluable.

Addendum(PDF, 2.47MB) released on 8 June 2016 should be read in conjunction with theReef Water Quality Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2014–15 to 2018–19(PDF, 1.4MB).

It, together with the original Strategy, will direct investment through to June 2019 for cane, grazing, banana and other agricultural industries in reef catchments.

The Addendum has taken into account investment to date, current priorities, alignment with other reef investment programs and the recently released recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce.

If you have future questions relating to the RD&I Strategy or Addendum please feel free to contact the Reef Water Quality team on 07 3330 5862 or emailCoordination.ReefProject@ehp.qld.gov.au

Next week Procurement Services within the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will be releasing two invitations for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) relating toTheme 3 Sediment management and land condition on extensive cattlegrazing lands andTheme 6 Local and Regional Solutions.

 These EOIs will be located on the Queensland Government tendering website “QTender” athttps://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/qtenders/.

The proposed EOI reference numbers will be EHP16032 (for Theme 6) and EHP15003 (for Theme 3).

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will advise you when these become available.

All enquiries related to the EOIs are to be in writing and viaprocurement@nprsr.qld.gov.au


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