Indigenous groups and cane farmers increasingly confident in NESP research

The Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ) Hub has helped Jaragun NRM, an Aboriginal small business south of Cairns, demonstrate the effectiveness of their Babinda Swamp Constructed Wetland project. The project has paved the way for collaboration on future projects in the Russell River catchment of Far North Queensland. Liz Owen from Jaragun said that the strength of a TWQ Hub project is the relationships developed for joint participation with local canefarmers and canegrower organisations in other projects that contribute to improved water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. “Nathan Waltham and the Hub’s scientific input into project design has ensured that canegrowers have confidence in water quality projects, including new technologies like denitrification bioreactors being trialled under the GBR Innovation Fund as an on-farm strategy to filter nitrogen contained in groundwater,” she said. “NESP staff have been an invaluable support to our projects.” Under this TWQ Hub project, Dr Waltham has evaluated the dynamics of Jaragun NRM’s constructed wetland to filter nitrogen contained in agricultural runoff from the 2,500 hectare Babinda Swamp Drainage Area. Dr Waltham developed a model for calculating the efficiency of the constructed wetland to filter nitrogen contained in agricultural runoff in Wet Tropics conditions. The results of the project will be incorporated into a jointly-developed hydrograph that can be applied to better estimate the amount of nitrogen able to be intercepted for a second wetland Jaragun is planning in the area.