Revegetation of the Kolan River bank near Avondale is under way to prevent erosion and reduce sediment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.

Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) received funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to improve water quality, restore habitat and protect endangered species.

Indigenous-owned enterprise Gidarjil Development Corporation is revegetating the site using mangrove plants and seed stock grown at their Burnett Heads nursery.

In January, Green Solutions Wide Bay supplied mulch for spreading on top of the bank to slow weed growth, promote soil health and retain moisture.

In addition to environmental benefits, the landowner Bundaberg Sugar will benefit from erosion control preventing further loss of sugarcane production.

BMRG chief executive Sheila Charlesworth said the project is a fantastic example of partners working together to achieve positive environmental and agricultural outcomes.

“The left bank of the Kolan River had moved up to 70 metres between 1959 and 2020 due to the loss of mangroves and riparian vegetation,” she said.

“These works are estimated to prevent more than 7000 tonnes of sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef each year.

“The river bank has been restored from a vertical drop to its natural state through a gradual rise from mangroves to saltmarsh grasses and native vegetation.

“This is good for fish and fauna as well as river health, soils and farming.”

Alluvium consultants prepared the design plans while GWT Earthmoving did the bank stabilisation earthworks.

This included reprofiling the river bank, installing pile fields to imitate natural features and catch sediment; and root balls from fallen trees to stabilise the bank and provide habitat.

The revegetation is expected to return the river to its natural form.

Ms Charlesworth said the project ties in with BMRG completing the world’s first regional scale environmental account – essentially, a 5.6 million hectare stocktake of natural assets such as vegetation cover, soils, plants and animals.

“I congratulate the Australian Government for investing in the restoration and preservation of natural capital at a time when we are compiling the data to help them enable and direct that investment,” she said.

“As climate change forces the world economy to decarbonise, corporations and institutional investors are also looking to invest in natural capital.”

Media contact:
Victoria Clarke BMRG Project Officer, phone (07) 4181 2999