Our Plan for Russell & Mulgrave Catchments

Our Local Landscape is home – to diverse communities, unique wildlife, awe-inspiring rainforests and cascading tropical creeks and rivers.

We love the natural systems, but we are also proud of our towns and rural areas, which not only make life possible here, but provide us with an enjoyable, satisfying and sustainable lifestyle.

Preserving all these values and making sure our towns, farms and natural landscapes continue to flourish, side-by-side into the future, will take careful planning and management by all of us. We have some good ideas to take this further.

Our top three priorities

1. Community Values

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

There is a lot of great on-ground environmental work happening in our Local Landscape. We can add value to these initiatives and maximise community support and involvement by making sure the right knowledge and skills are available to help change behaviours and attitudes.

If we only focus on physical project outcomes, we don’t really know if we are influencing values and respect. We need to build environmental awareness into everything we do; with this approach, everyone will have ownership of environmental management.

“We are “they” – “they” should do something means we should do something.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Employ a communications officer to assist smaller projects and community groups to tell their story and raise awareness.
• Purchase Bokashi fermentation composting and food recycling kits for schools, to develop case studies and raise awareness of environmental issues in the community.
• Provide general support to catchment and landcare groups to continue to operate effectively.
• Develop innovative partnerships between schools and environmental organisations to build knowledge and a sense of stewardship.

2. Biodiversity

We will improve the condition and connectivity of our forests, building a mosaic of corridors to build resilience against threats, including climate change.

Many of the special plants and animals in our Local Landscape have survived here for thousands of years. Since European settlement, there have been a lot of changes to our environment.

With our help, there are many things we can now do to make sure our natural systems remain healthy and sustainable, and able to withstand the impacts predicted through climate change.

“I would like to see a landscape that still contains all of the biodiversity of our Wet Tropics and a lot less of weeds/ferals – while still having a sustainable agricultural community.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Establish a native plant community nursery for revegetation projects and sharing of knowledge.
• Undertake restoration work along the suite of feeder creeks (high endemism) flowing between the Mulgrave and the mountains.
• Undertake restoration work in the Lower Mulgrave Wetlands.
• Revegetate areas to improve cassowary habitat eg. Lower areas of Babinda Creek.

3. Water

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

We certainly have no shortage of water in our Local Landscape, particularly at the end of a good wet season! There are many things we can do to make sure our water is clean and healthy, so we can continue to use it for a range of purposes. Our activities on land and in the riparian areas surrounding our waterways have a big impact on the water in our creeks, rivers and oceans.

With careful management, we can improve our water quality, as well as providing important aquatic and wetland habitats for many animals.

“We don’t want to be standing in Singapore daisy under pond apple catching tilapia – we need to preserve what makes this the Wet Tropics!

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Undertake restoration work at the high profile Upper Hemming’s Creek for both environmental and community awareness raising benefits.
• Develop a River Management Plan for Babinda Creek, to restore flows and rehabilitate wetlands and lagoons.
• Protect and restore riparian habitat along Behana Creek, building on existing work.
• Re-instate Babinda swamp, for improved water quality and wildlife habitat.

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