International students learn from real community action in the Warrill Creek Catchment

International students learn from real community action in the Warrill Creek Catchment

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International students had the opportunity to learn from real community action contributing to the improved health of our land and waterways on a recent tour of the Warrill Creek catchment area hosted by Healthy Waterways and Catchments. 

The environmental engineering students from the International Water Centre, had the opportunity to visit real life examples undertaken by local landholders that are helping to reduce sediment run-off into Warrill Creek, protect agricultural land from reduced soil loss and erosion, and build resilience back into the natural system.

Healthy Waterways and Catchments’ Area Manager, Nathanial Parker, who has delivered these projects as part of the Queensland Government’s Healthy Country program, said that this was a great opportunity to share learnings with the students around the importance of working closely with the local community to identify real priorities and needs.

“The success of these types of projects relies heavily on identifying real community priorities,” said Nat. 

“The example works that we visited as part of the Healthy Country Program have all been guided by a community led steering committee to ensure that they not only meet community priorities, but are also connected and form part of a solution to stream management for the whole reach and not just one isolated area.”

“The students are from all over the world and it’s important that we share these experiences so that we can continue learning from each other,” he said. 
“We were able to show the students a number of great practical examples helping to restore our local landscapes, including repairing gullies, restoring the health of Warrill Creek by installing fencing and planting native trees along the creek line to improve resilience to future flooding and create habitat for local wildlife,” he said.

“The proximity of landholder properties to the Main Range prompted great interest amongst the students, with lots of questions about the 2011 and 2013 floods.”

“The students were particularly interested in a new technology used across a number of properties, known as log jams, which helps to halt creek erosion. 

Pioneered in the US, log jams consist of hardwood trees (i.e ironbark and spotted gum) and are keyed into the creek bank, helping to slow and deflect the water flow off the bank, giving creek banks and farming land protection during floods. 

This emulates what would normally happen in nature when a series of logs fall into a creek over time and dig themselves into the bed, causing a jam, hence the name.

Course coordinator for the International Water Centre, Andrew Davidson, said that this type of firsthand experience was invaluable for the students. 

"Seeing firsthand what a true collaboration can achieve for improving water quality management converts the theory of the classroom into a powerful example of positive change in the real world,” said Andrew.

The students love the interaction with landholders and witnessing firsthand what a community based organisation like Healthy Waterways and Catchments can achieve by working with landholders.”

The Healthy Country Extension and Maintenance Support Program 2015-2017 is delivered by Healthy Waterways and Catchments through funding from the Queensland Government.

Media enquiries: Sibel Korhaliller 0488 713 340

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