Our Plan for the Upper Herbert

Our Plan for the Upper Herbert

The vast and open spaces of the Upper Herbert provide the foundation for many of our livelihoods, with almost three-quarters of our land area used for cattle grazing.

Our plan for the Upper Herbert recognises and values our unique landscape.  We are blessed with spectacular natural wonders.  Visitors are attracted from locally and around the world, supporting an important tourism industry.

Our landscape is also important because of its Cultural Heritage, and the strong connection between our Traditional Owners and this Country.

The enormous distances between properties and huge areas managed by individual landholders bring many challenges. Despite the complexity of living and working in this local landscape, our plan for the Upper Herbert will  help us achieve healthy landscapes and strong, sustainable industries. This will help us sustain our special lifestyle.  Find out more about our community’s plan for the Upper Herbert!

Our three top priorities

1. Water

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

With water in our part of the landscape so scarce, it’s important we keep our waterways healthy.  We can do this by reducing the export of sediment and nutrients into our waterways, using water wisely and protecting and restoring wetlands and riparian areas.  This can bring many benefits, not only to our towns and farms, but also to our natural environment.

Our Local Landscape includes the headwaters and upper catchment area for the Herbert River, which eventually flows into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.  Our careful management here can have important consequences downstream and on the reef environment.

We have some significant seasonal wetlands in our Local Landscape which provide important habitat to many species of water birds.

There is a strong cultural connection by Traditional Owners to waterways, adding to the significance of working in these important areas.

“This would provide a good demonstration of Traditional Owners working effectively on country.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

  • Remediate and stabilise high priority erosion areas, such as stream banks and gullies.
  • Manage point sources of water pollution, such as from mining or urban areas.
  • Implement water conservation measures to maintain downstream supply for people, farming and the environment.

2. Sustainable industries

We will use best management practices for grazing, in combination with appropriate fire management strategies, to improve our industries and our landscapes.

Landholders are responsible for managing enormous areas of land in our Local Landscape.  Grazing and fire are important tools for farm and environmental management and they can have a big impact on pasture species, weeds and productivity.

These practices can also affect the growth of native plant species and the habitat and feeding areas for native animals.  Landscape-scale grazing and fire management can be complicated, but there is already a lot of information and research available. Providing access to this good information and identifying any research gaps will allow improved on-ground grazing and fire management.

“Improved fire management strategies can help show respect for the land / environment / other people.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Implement grazing best management practices appropriate to the Upper Herbert Local Landscape.
• Research appropriate fire management strategies, with extension of results to landholders.

3. Biosecurity

We will control priority weeds in our landscape to improve productivity and natural values.

Weeds, weeds, weeds! They are a major threat to our agricultural industries and our environment. They reduce productivity, reduce habitat for native animals, increase fire risk and impact on waterways.

The sheer scale of the task to control weeds can sometimes seem overwhelming, particularly for time-poor landholders managing vast land areas.

Supporting landholders with accurate and practical weed control information, in addition to targeted and strategic on-ground support, can help improve their ability to tackle the problem. Working together to deal with this issue will be much more effective than struggling individually.

“New weeds will come into the area. We need good protocols for dealing with this in a very timely and effective way – working collaboratively will be most effective.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Provide practical weed management support to landholders through other active groups in the area eg. Green Army.
• Work collaboratively with all groups in the region to improve weed control and biosecurity protocols.

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