Rockhampton graziers working together today for a healthier Great Barrier Reef
The Reef Guardian Graziers pilot program showcases the good environmental work graziers are undertaking to help protect the Reef and encourages others in the industry to get involved in similar activities.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said graziers in the Fitzroy River floodplains near Rockhampton were among the first graziers to pledge their support to the Great Barrier Reef.
"The Great Barrier Reef is at a crossroad and decisions made in the next few years are likely to determine its long-term future," he said.
"The Reef Guardian Graziers program recognises those who take an innovative approach to their business operations and help to reduce pressures on the Reef."
Jeff and Karen Mills, graziers from Morinish near Rockhampton, are among the first to join the program.
"We are proud to be Reef Guardian Graziers, as we believe cattle producers have an important role to play in managing properties so off-farm impacts are minimised," Jeff said.
"We undertake many practices aimed at the long-term sustainability of our property and business.
"We are always open to sharing our knowledge with others, and hope that our involvement in this program encourages other landholders to help look after the environment."
Jeff and Karen have a number of sustainable practices taking place on their property.
This includes locking up erosion areas to stabilise soil, improving water management, maintaining a good balance of trees and natural regeneration, and fencing riparian areas to protect these natural areas.
They regularly host researchers and students on their property and Jeff was a driving force in the setting up an Environmental Sciences Scholarship with Central Queensland University.
Reef Guardian Graziers is part of a broader Reef Guardian program involving 13 Councils, over 270 schools, eight cane farmers, five banana farmers, four grazing businesses, and six fishers taking part in on-ground environmental projects that benefit the Reef.
The Reef Guardian program began in 2003. In 2010, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority received a $3.8 million boost from the Federal Budget to expand the highly successful Reef Guardians stewardship program.
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