The environmental objective of this Traditional Owner water quality project was to stabilise a section of stream bank and connect remnant stands of native vegetation on Babinda Creek. This is in a context where stream bank erosion is as high as 0.5 metres per annum in some locations, with channel migration, in-stream sedimentation and poor water quality threatening productive agricultural land, native aquatic species, coral reef and seagrass beds, respectively. The poor quality of native wildlife corridors associated with fragmented stands of remnant native vegetation is also threatening biodiversity of native flora and fauna.
The revegetation site was chosen following geomorphic advice. The site included 1.4 hectares directly opposite another revegetation site to encourage reinstatement of in-stream hydrology long-term and reduce in-stream sedimentation.
To maximise long-term outcomes, the revegetation site plan resulted in:
dense planting of upstream gullies - to reduce flow velocity and encourage sedimentation
planting of stream bank species - to stabilise the creek bank, and
planting in stands - to facilitate natural distribution of seeds to encourage movement of birds across the remainder of the site.
With an aim to restore maximum diversity, the project resulted in replanting of 1,300 seedlings using mixed native seedlings from Jaragun’s native nursery. The seedlings included a vulnerable plant species found only along rivers and creeks in the coastal lowlands of the Wet Tropics. A diversity of species were planted that provide food fruits for native animals that have a critical role in maintaining rainforest structure, while niche bank species were planted that provide shade and protection for aquatic species. A micro habitat, involving native sedges, was re-established along the creek bank.
Each stand of native vegetation comprised a canopy species, a sub-canopy species, a mixed diversity species and an Alexandra Palm to maintain the forest integrity of vegetation in the catchment.