Our Plan for Douglas

The defining features of our Local Landscape are our diversity of communities and cultures and our spectacular natural landscapes.

It is important to us to protect these values, which contribute to making our Local Landscape unique. Having strong and sustainable industries to maintain our families and way of life is central to achieving our goals.

Underpinning it all is a desire to see our natural systems and waterways maintained and enhanced. Managing all our landscape’s values is a complex undertaking, but we have many motivated and passionate people and groups within our communities. With good information, and a cohesive, active community, we can achieve our goals.

Our three top priorities

1. Sustainable Industries

Our region’s industries will be sustainable, diverse and resilient, supporting our communities and natural environments.

Our region sustains a range of productive industries, with sugar cane covering the largest land area. There are many progressive farmers in our region, investigating ways to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into waterways and maintain healthy soils and catchments.

It’s important for us to be using sustainable farming practices, as this will have far-reaching effects on water quality and catchment and reef health. Regenerative and diversified agricultural production, will support long-term environmental health and improve the sustainability and resilience of our communities.

Other industries like tourism play an increasingly important role in our region.

“Environmentally sustainable and diverse farming will show how to be economically viable and respect and protect our natural and very special environment.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Conduct trials to improve soil health and reduce reliance on inorganic nitrogen fertilisers.
• Establish a model agroforestry farm to showcases opportunities of a diverse multiple crop system as an alternative to conventional agricultural practice.
• Conduct soil testing and mapping to determine appropriate crops and fertiliser application.
• Develop landholder extension/incentives program regarding alternative agricultural models.

2. Water

We will enhance the quality of our water and the condition of our waterways.

There are such huge benefits to having clean water; in fact, the survival of our towns, farms and natural systems relies on healthy creeks, rivers and waterways.

It is important that we have accurate information to support good decision-making regarding our waterways. We also need to look further than just the waterways and consider land management throughout the catchment.

“Waterway restoration contributes to a balanced, sustainable community, an economy with diverse industry investment.”

Examples of our priority actions to enhance our waterways include:

• Develop an education program about techniques for managing healthy riparian zones.
• Identify priority catchment repair locations, based on scientific water quality information, allowing for strategic and targeted repairs to river systems.
• Revegetate priority waterways (eg. Whyanbeal Creek), involving wide range of stakeholders.

3. Community Values

We will work to ensure our community understands and appreciates the environmental, cultural, economic and recreational values of our natural areas.

Our aim is to have a well-informed community, with a high level of awareness of environmental issues relevant to our Local Landscape, like climate change, reef health, water quality, sustainable resource use, biodiversity and conservation.

Incorporating Traditional Owner knowledge can bring an even broader appreciation and level of understanding. Once there is understanding of the issues, effective community drive and action is possible. There is enormous power and potential in a motivated, informed and capable community.

“Critical to not just focus on the environmental issues and outcomes but also the economic, social and cultural – what does it mean for a wide variety of interests.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Empower and support Traditional Owners to manage the environment and care for country.
• Secure a sustainability officer within our region to help provide information, build a cohesive community vision and instigate collective action (including about climate change).

Other priorities:

We are also interested in the condition and extent of our forests and improving connectivity between them. Revegetation in priority areas can provide high biodiversity outcomes eg. South arm of Wonga Creek. Strategic management of invasive vines is another approach which will improve the health and resilience of our native forests.

We also recognise the importance of healthy coastal systems. The revegetation of priority foreshore areas is an important strategy, providing a buffer area and making the foreshore more resilient to impacts of climate change.

For more detail on the priority actions identified by the community for our Local Landscape, click here.