Category Archives: Great Barrier Reef

EHP calls tenders to bulldoze huge dam wall near Cooktown; 30,000 tonnes of potential sediment runoff

The fallout from the 2016 acquisition of Springvale Station at Lakeland continues after the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection called for tenders to demolish a 1200 megalitre irrigation dam on the property.

Last year the EPH was caught out when a neighbour complained of long silt plumes found in the permanent East Normanby River after the department began siphoning water from the $400,000 dam into the river.

The river eventually drains into Princess Charlotte Bay and onto the Great Barrier Reef.

This massive irrigation dam costing $400,000 to construct will soon be bulldozed by EHP, by removing an estimated 30,000 cubic metres of earth in the wall. An engineer predicts this soil could eventually end up in the river system and be deposited onto the Great Barrier Reef.


The water was left to run across 150 metres of soil between the dam bank and the river, gouging one metre channels in the earth creating many hundreds of tonnes of sediment which flowed into the river.

A local engineer estimated the wall would contain 30,000 cubic metres of compacted earth, when removed could eventually end up in the river system.

The hydrologist who designed the dam for the previous owners said the dam wall was sound and in no way would have breached after heavy rain events.

The EHP Minister at the time, Stephen Miles, claimed the design of the dam’s construction was unknown and therefore considered the wall “unsafe.”

Refuting the Minister’s assertion, the hydrologist, Geoff Benjamin, of Mareeba, said the wall remained intact and sound after 300 mm fell in one night, before the wall construction was finally completed.

“The dam was designed with an effective spillway and fish-way, however construction work was forced to cease due to early wet-season rains,” Mr Benjamin said.

“Although I did not visit the site when work ceased, I believe that the embankment height was about 1 to 1.5 m below the intended final design elevation.

“At this elevation a natural depression on the eastern side provides a broad, natural spillway so that the embankment would not be compromised in the event of intense storm run-off; which is in fact, exactly what occurred when Cyclone Etta, I think, passed straight over the property in January 2014, reportedly dropping about 300 mm of rain over-night!

“The statement about ‘unacceptable safety risk’ would therefore seem totally baseless.  Unfortunately such uninformed, alarmist comments seem to be what we’ve come to expect from this particular Minister.”

Defending the decision to demolish the valuable water asset, home to innumerable birdlife and other aquatic wildlife, the EHP claimed the design was unknown, which has been ridiculed by Mr Benjamin.

“Likewise the assertion that ‘the status of its design and capacity is unknown’ is inaccurate, since I provided details of the design to one of the Minister’s departmental officers not long after EHP acquired the Springvale property,” Mr Benjamin said.

The EHP claimed it acquired Springvale to prevent sediment runoff into the Great Barrier Reef catchment, however the Chief Scientist for Queensland, Dr Geoff Garrett, told a meeting of landowners at Lakeland prior to the property purchase there was no measurable sediment runoff from the Upper Normanby catchment.

Minister Miles ignored this advice and continued with the purchase, wasting $7 million of taxpayers funds and removed 4000 head of cattle from the local economy.

The property is being divided into yet more unnecessary national park with the balance being given to an indigenous group.

Tenders to decommission the dam were called on January 24 and will close on March 5, 2018.


JCU censures its own Professor for telling the truth “… there is nothing wrong with the Barrier Reef…”

The Australian Institute of Marine Studies has been caught out telling porkies….

by Don Aitkin

Well, the pressure to conform is happening again, and at Professor Bob Carter’s old university, James Cook University in Townsville. The late Bob Carter was censured by JCU some years ago for ridiculing the Global Warming  theory.     This time the proposed villain is JCU professor of physics, Peter Ridd, whose interests include coastal oceanography, the effects of sediments upon coral reefs, past and future climates and atmospheric modelling. I have met Peter Ridd, and I know something about his work. He has been head of the Department of Physics for ten years. His intellectual reach is wider than my short summary here, but I have put in what gives him some status in the world of global warming.

Professor Ridd’s comments on Sky news, to the effect that “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies… The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

JCU Professor Peter Ridd said that a paper by JCU scientists foretelling the end of the reef was simply ‘laughable’. Bleaching is a natural event, and occurred long before there was human activity anywhere near the reef. What is more, reefs recover, sometimes quite quickly. The University is competing for research funds thus it has to create a doomsday scenario.

He has been in the news before, drawing attention to the need to change the peer review system, and to what he sees as exaggerated claims about the dangers that threaten the Great Barrier Reef, alleging that scientists or spokesmen for scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and government organisations like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) were not behaving in a scientifically scrupulous way in announcing new claims and about danger. He was not alone in saying these things. The chairman of GBRMPA himself protested that headlines saying that ’93 per cent of the reef is ‘critically dead’ or that 35 per cent or even 50 per cent of the entire reef is now gone’ were rubbish. A former chairman said that ‘environmentalist were ‘exaggerating the impact of coral bleaching for political and financial gain’. Ridd said that a paper by JCU scientists foretelling the end of the reef was simply ‘laughable’. Bleaching is a natural event, and occurred long before there was human activity anywhere near the reef. What is more, reefs recover, sometimes quite quickly.

Nonetheless, the university told him he was ‘not displaying responsibility in respecting the reputations of other colleagues’. Do it again, he was told, and we’ll try you for ‘serious misconduct’. I’ve written about this before, and indeed the above is an introduction to the news that JCU indeed decided to discipline Professor Ridd, and started the process in late August last year. What for? The University’s statement is that it was disturbed by Professor Ridd’s comments on Sky news, to the effect that ‘We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies… The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.’ Such statements, said the University, were ‘not in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth’. Further, his comments had denigrated AIMS and were ‘not respectful and courteous’. In a letter tabled with the court, the University said that his comments could damage the reputation of AIMS and the University’s relationships with it.

On this occasion, Professor Ridd decided he had had enough, and launched his own court case against the CEO, claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias. It happens that the University’s Vice-Chancellor is a director of AIMS, which produces an obvious conflict of interest. The University then told Ridd he was not to ‘disclose or discuss these matters with media or in any other public forum’. His lawyers pointed out that either the University was incompetent or it was guided by bias, which the University’s lawyers denied.

Peter Ridd was kind enough to write to me  about the alleged misconduct involved in talking to the media about the misconduct allegation, and later alerted me to the fact that there was deemed to be further misconduct  involved in writing to me! I wish him well in all of this, which is so unnecessary, and so inimical to the cause of scholarship, argument and the advancement of knowledge.

I can appreciate the dilemma facing the Vice-Chancellor of James Cook University, for there is no doubt that research grant money is really important. I have to say that I did not have a comparable problem in my eleven years in the role, despite the pressure on everyone to get grant money if they could. Nonetheless, there is no doubt where I think the right is. A scientist who says that other people’s work is flawed has to show cause. In the case of the Great Barrier Reef that is not hard to do. There has been a lot of loud noise based on small pieces of work. It is not widely understood that the Reef is a vast system, and that it is not closely monitored. You would need hundreds, thousands, of researchers and assistants to do that. And there are lots of natural and cyclic causes for changes to the Reef’s coral. These events have happened before, and they will happen again. The correct response from those he has criticised is to respond in the proper way, show that Ridd is wrong, and that their work can withstand his criticism.

To the best of my knowledge that has not happened. Instead, Professor Ridd has been attacked in an ad hominem way. It seems to me utterly wrong for his own University to try to ‘discipline’ him so that he does not criticise others. That is not what science is about. It doesn’t matter what relationships JCU has with AIMS. If the AIMS work is poor, or inflated claims have been made about the importance of its research, the University ought to be able to point that out, and suggest that better work ought to be done, or that claims should be more subdued.

Ah, but this is the Reef, an icon of the environmental movement. And there is a lot of money about for ‘research’ that is ‘consistent’ with the notion that doom is at hand. Like Professor Ridd, I think that the University has gone down utterly the wrong track, and the sooner it departs from it the better. As it happens, the book I referred to at the beginning of this essay, No End of a Lesson, gives instances of other high-handed behaviour from Vice-Chancellors. They are not emperors, and should never give the impression that they think they are.

A healthy Great Barrier Reef spawns fictitious, costly scare campaigns

The never-ending battles of the Coral Sea

by Viv Forbes, science writer

For at least 50 years Australian taxpayers and other innocents have supported a parasitic industry in academia, bureaucracy, law, media and the tax-exempt Green Alarm “Charities”, all studying, regulating, inspecting and writing about yet another “imminent threat to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.”

The Queensland Labor Party Government is about to embark on another reef-runoff onslaught against coastal farmers that is intended to close down farming along the entire coastline, from Cooktown to Brisbane.

It has become the never-ending battle of the Coral Sea.

The threats change, but there is always a doomsday forecast – Crown-of-Thorns, oil drilling, fishing, cane farming, coastal shipping, global warming, ocean acidity, coral bleaching, port dredging, chemical and fertiliser runoff, coal transport, river sediments, loss of world heritage status etc. Every recycled scare, magnified by the media and parroted by politicians, generates more income for the alarm industry, usually at the expense of taxpayers, consumers or local industries.

The reality is that sea creatures would starve in pure water – all marine life needs nutrients, salts and minerals. These come from other life forms, from decomposing rocks and organic matter carried to the sea by rivers, from dissolving atmospheric gases, or from delta and shelf sediments stirred up by floods, cyclones, dredging or coastal shipping. No one supports over-use of toxic man-made chemicals, but well-run cane, cattle and coal companies can co-exist with corals.

Conservation bodies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority conjure up doomsday scare campaigns for a healthy Barrier Reef to attract more funding from inept government

Corals first appeared 500 million years ago and have proven to be one of Earth’s great survivors. They outlasted the Carboniferous Forests, the Permian and Cretaceous extinctions, the dinosaurs, the mammoths, the Neanderthals and the Pleistocene cycles of ice age and warming. They thrive in warm tropical water, cluster around hot volcanic fumaroles and survive massive petroleum spills, natural oil seeps, tidal waves and volcanic dust. They have even recolonised the Montebello Island waters devastated by atomic bomb testing in the 1950’s.

The ENSO oscillation of blobs of warm Pacific water which caused recent coral bleaching can be identified in historical records for at least 400 years. Corals have survived El Nino warmings for thousands of years and they will probably outlast Homo Alarmism as Earth proceeds into the next glacial epoch.

See the Supercorals:

Corals do not rely on computer models of global temperature to advise them – they read the sea level thermometer which falls and rises as the great ice sheets come and go.

In the warming phase like the one just ending, ice melts, sea levels rise and the reef that houses the corals may get drowned. Corals have two choices – build their reef higher or just float south/inshore and build a new reef (like the Great Barrier Reef) in shallower, cooler water. When islands sink beneath rising oceans, corals may build their own coral atolls as fast as the water rises.

Then when the cold era returns, ice sheets grow, sea levels fall, and the warm era coral reefs get stranded on the new beaches and coastal plains. Usually the process is slow enough to allow the coral polyps to float into deeper warmer water closer to the equator and build another reef.

This eminently sensible policy of “move when you have to” has proved a successful survival policy for the corals for 500 million years.

Humans should copy the corals – “forget the computer climate models but watch real data like actual sea levels and . . . move when you have to.

The stupidity of green power

from Viv Forbes, Science Writer

“Daring to Doubt”
by Tony Abbott:
“Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West. Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia could have made such a religion out of it. Beware the pronouncement, “the science is settled”. It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages. Almost as bad is the claim that “99 per cent of scientists believe” as if scientific truth is determined by votes rather than facts.”
–Tony Abbott, 2017 Annual GWPF Lecture, London 9 October 2017

 “Escaping the Renewable Energy Trap”
by Alan Moran:

 “The Paris Agreement”
by President Donald Trump
What he really said.

Serious Defects in Australia’s Energy Policies

Donald Trump:

“… As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens.  The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.

Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.  This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune….”

A group of retired senior engineers challenge Australia’s bi-partisan energy foolishness. See:


Trad plans to lock up Cape York Peninsula if the ALP wins election

Green preferences are driving the Labor Government’s proposed draconian environmental policies as a trade-off for the Adani coal mine approval.

A source close to the ALP is warning Wild Rivers “on steroids” rebadged as ‘Pristine Rivers’ will be put back on the table along with revamped, tough vegetation management laws should the ALP win the upcoming election.

The source said revisiting Wild Rivers and vegetation management laws are on the agenda for the upcoming State ALP conference to be held in Townsville at the Convention Centre on July 28 and 29.

Spot the clowns: Miles and Trad want to lock up Cape York in exchange for allowing Adani mine to go ahead

A World Heritage listing over the Laura sandstone escarpment country, mooted by the State Government, also looms large for the people of the Peninsula.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad is moving to pacify the Greens’ hostility over approvals to allow Australia’s largest coal mine in Central Queensland to go ahead.

Trad and her colleague, Environment and Heritage Protection Minister Stephen Miles, have not yet taken into consideration the strident opposition of Cape York Peninsula communities, the Cape York Land Council and pastoralists alike, some of whom claim they will campaign against the party at the State election expected on November 4 this year.

Pastoralists and some communities believe a World Heritage nomination by the State Government will be the precursor for listing the entire Peninsula, in effect the beginning of the end for the economic prosperity of Aboriginal communities sitting on vast tracts of grazing property.

Cape York land Council chairman Richie Ah Mat has come out swinging against Trad and Miles secret plans to reintroduce Wild Rivers on steroids

In a recent radio interview, Chairman of the CYLC, Richie AhMat castigated the proposed new versions of Wild Rivers and vegetation laws as well as the existing environmental overlays on most Aboriginal freehold and Deed of Grant in Trust land(DOGIT) covering nearly one half of the land area of the Peninsula.

Referring to the Wild Rivers legislation, Mr AhMat asked how the government expected Aboriginal people to start up businesses and to be economically viable “when these land restrictions appear out of nowhere?”

“You can’t talk about economic development on one hand and you can’t talk about indigenous employment on the other, and you can’t talk about Northern Australia on both hands.”

In reply to a question about the as yet undisclosed ‘Pristine Rivers’ policy Mr AhMat alluded to funding that had been allocated in the past two state budgets purportedly for consultation with traditional owners.

He said he was worried about all the rivers in Cape York which could be affected by a lock up policy.

“All of our rivers in Cape York are fresh water rivers, water is a huge commodity now and nobody in their wildest dreams 10 years or fifteen years ago expected them to buy a bottle of fresh water,” Mr Ah Mat said.

“To buy a bottle of fresh water is more than a litre of fuel.

“Why does the government want to lock up Cape York, because they have a 20 to 30 year plan but they aren’t talking to anybody, it’s all secretive because we are out of sight and out of mind.

“We fought long and hard against the wild rivers, long and hard and we were untied as one on Cape York.

“This Pristine Rivers believe me there are rumblings about it in 1 William Street (Executive Building) now.

“This legislation over land is going to block everything.”

Gordon Rasmussen, Katters Australian Party candidate for the Cook electorate, which takes in all of Cape York, agreed with Mr Ah Mat.

“It looks like Northern Development is just a talk fest because what Mr Ah Mat says about locking up all the rivers and land on Cape York makes a mockery of the $5 billion federal fund for northern land development,” Mr Rasmussen pointed out.

“How does the federal government expect to achieve anything in an area like the Peninsula to help economic development for struggling communities when the State Government has divided up most of the Aboriginal land into nature reserves, national parks and heritage areas?

“If the Labor Party gets back into government we are all in for a very rough trot.”

EHP draining irrigation dam flushing tonnes of sediment onto the reef

Draining and bulldozing of the ‘Cook’ irrigation dam on Springvale Station by the EHP has been described as “environmental vandalism” by a neighbouring landowner

-article contributed

The draining and bulldozing of a 1000 megalitre irrigation dam at Springvale Station south west of Cooktown by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has made a mockery of preventing sediment runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef.

Millions of litres of dam water is being siphoned from the dam directly into the East Normanby River, creating a muddy plume for many kilometres downstream, dumping thousands of tonnes of sediment onto the reef.

The East Normanby runs into the now dry West Normanby to become the Normanby  River which eventually runs into Princess Charlotte Bay.

The 2016 purchase of the former cattle property by EHP drew much criticism from the farming industry when it was discovered flawed sediment runoff data was the basis for its acquisition by the government.

A spokesman for EHP Minister Stephen Miles confirmed the dam was being pumped out and millions of litres of valuable water were being discharged into the flowing East Normanby River.

Deep channels have been cut below the dam wall by water gushing from a siphon polypipe in the 1000ml dam flowing straight into the East Normanby River. The EHP intends to bulldoze this massive earth wall

Water being siphoned from the irrigation dam has cut a deep channel through the soil and is draining directly into the flowing East Normanby River(top of photo) creating massive sediment plumes kilometres downstream

The EHP has claimed the dam could fail, but adjoining landowner and former Cook Shire Mayor Graham Elmes said the dam was sound, properly built, had gone through four wet seasons and had filled easily during its first wet in 2013.

“This dam also acted as a large sediment trap filtering runoff into the river system, but when the walls are bulldozed what will happen to the 30,000 cubic metres of earth that an engineer has measured,” he said.

“It can’t be left in the excavation area because it will simply run off into the river and then Springvale actually will have a sediment runoff problem.”

KAP Rob Katter MP for Mt Isa

KAP State leader Robbie Katter said the State Government is on a crusade against farmers.

“They are deceiving the public through misinformation and inaccurate data,” Mr Katter said.

“This is a fallacy, again derived from incorrect data and is a waste of viable, developed grazing property, which would be far better managed by a farmer than the State Government. This dam should be left intact.”

North East Regional Manager of Agforce Paul Burke was incensed that a government could undertake such “wanton waste.”

“It beggars belief that such a precious commodity could be pumped down the river when this property could have been producing a number of irrigated crops and still breeding cattle,” Mr Burke said.

The EHP spokesman claimed the dam “did not undergo a full regulatory approvals process as required by State legislation and is therefore unauthorised.

Stephen Miles (away) EHP Minister

“To prevent dam failure and any subsequent downstream impacts, including contributions to sediment production within the catchment, the dam will be decommissioned and the land will be rehabilitated,” the spokesman said.

Mr Elmes was adamant the dam had been properly constructed and there was absolutely no chance the dam wall could fail.

“Bulldozing this water asset that cost $400,000 to build is totally irresponsible and an act of environmental vandalism.

“The government should stop all destructive activities on this property, freehold and subdivide it into four blocks and ballot these blocks for younger farmers,” he said.

Qld Govt at war with itself over $7m cattle property purchase

More jaundiced reporting from the ABC about Springvale Station west of Cooktown that the Queensland Environment Department bought for $7 million to prevent sediment runoff into the ocean.

The only problem is that bogus data was used to base the purchase, when in fact the Government’s own previously published scientific data clearly showed Springvale Station was responsible for less than one per cent runoff into Princess Charlotte Bay.

See story Cairns News: ‘Lakefield National Park contributes more reef runoff than all combined cattle properties in the catchment’

from ABC

In what could be a storyline from the satirical TV series Yes Minister, the Queensland Government has gone to war with itself.

Key points:

  • The Mines Department is considering an application to mine a river on state-owned land for gold and tin
  • The Environment Department bought the land in a bid to halt sediment reaching the reef
  • The two departments are in a legal fight in the Land Court

The ABC has learned one Queensland Government department has lodged a legal objection to another department over a plan to mine a river on state-owned land.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is taking on the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in a stoush in the Land Court over Springvale Station on Cape York.

The Queensland Government bought the massive cattle station for $7 million last year.

The idea was to stop, or at least reduce, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sediment from the property washing from the West Normanby River into the Great Barrier Reef.

But it seems — in the best traditions of Yes Minister — the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing.

At the same time the Environment Department was buying the property to prevent damaging sediment flowing down the river, the Natural Resources Department was considering an application to mine the river at Springvale Station for gold and tin ore.

Now the case is before the Queensland Land Court.

In its objection, the Environment Department argues “the public right and interest will be prejudiced by the proposed mining activity as it will directly and negatively impact the biodiversity values for which the property was acquired”.

It says research suggests that “Springvale Station is the source of approximately 460,000 tonnes of sediment runoff every year, which is around 40 per cent of all gully erosion-derived sediment in the Normanby River catchment”.

The West Normanby River joins the eastern branch of the river before draining into Princess Charlotte Bay and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“The proposed mining activity will likely further destabilise the alluvial and colluvial soils of the West Normanby River and increase soil erosion and sediment loss,” the Environment Department said in its objection.

“… The long-term economic benefits of enhancing environmental outcomes through this acquisition will far exceed the economic and employment benefits of this small mining operation.”

The department also warns sedimentation blocks light for coral, smothers marine organisms and reduces coral and seagrass growth.

It states the northern section of the reef has been significantly affected by coral bleaching, with “high levels of coral mortality”.

“For those corals to have the best chance of recovery, the water quality needs to be as good as possible,” the Environment Department wrote.

Endangered plants, animals on land: Environment Department

The State Government has already begun removing cattle from Springvale Station in a bid to reduce sediment run-off.

The Environment Department said it would invest a substantial amount of public money for conservation work on the property to further reduce run-off, with the price tag set at $30,000 a hectare.

The department also said the property was home to endangered or vulnerable flora and fauna species, including the northern quoll, red goshawk, brown antelope orchid and spectacled flying fox.

In a statement to the ABC, the Environment Department said it was the Government’s “intention that Springvale Station be declared a nature refuge”.

But it said such a declaration would “not necessarily preclude the commencement of activities proposed under the mining lease application”.

A spokesman for the Land Court said the objection to the proposed mine would be heard in August.

Lakefield National Park contributes more reef runoff than all combined cattle properties in the catchment

The $7 million purchase of Springvale Station at Lakeland last year by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to prevent sediment runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef derives from incorrect data and is a waste of a viable, developed grazing property.

The adjoining property owner and former Mayor of Cook Shire, Graham Elmes said Lakefield National Park, not Springvale, according to government data was responsible for 86 per cent of sediment runoff into Princes Charlotte Bay.

A spokesman for EHS Minister Stephen Miles said Springvale “reportedly was responsible for up to 40 per cent of gully-derived sediment in the Normanby catchment, which is a significant upper catchment draining onto the northern Great Barrier Reef.

“The Queensland Government aims to manage and conserve Springvale’s significant biophysical values, and contribute to improved water quality in the Normanby River catchment by reducing sediment runoff from the property.”

Former Cook Shire Mayor Graham Elmes says Springvale Station was bought under false pretences by the Qld Environment Dept. Lakefield National Park contributes 86 per cent of runoff onto the Great Barrier Reef, according to government data

In late March Mr Elmes met with EHP staff at Lakeland where he pointed out, according to a report from the Cape York Local Marine Park Authority, that 86 per cent of tested sediment levels found on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay originated from the Bizant River system that runs through the destocked, 5370 square kilometre Lakefield National Park and not from the Normanby River catchment.

He said gravel pits and 40 kilometres of gravel road running through the Kalpowar section of the national park were major sources of soil sediment runoff.

“After every wet season the national parks have to re-sheet their gravel roads with thousands of tonnes of gravel extracted from their own open gravel pits on the park,” Mr Elmes said.

“Where do they think the runoff from the pits and all this gravel from the roads ends up after floods?

“The report says the Marrett River that runs through Kalpowar puts 19 per cent and the North Kennedy 21 per cent into the Bizant River that contributes another 46 per cent of sediment that empties into Princes Charlotte Bay.”

The report states runoff from Springvale Station and the 11 other cattle properties in the(Normanby) catchment above the coastal plains represents only nine per cent of the total sediment found on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay.

“This nine percent of runoff is spread across 11 former or existing cattle properties including Springvale in the Normanby catchment,” Mr Elmes explained.

“If it is averaged across all 11 places then Springvale’s runoff contribution is less than one per cent.”

Section 1.3.6 of the report says: ‘…riverine delivered sediments from the upper catchment (ie sourced from above the coastal plain) only represent about nine per cent of the sediment present on the bed of Princes Charlotte Bay.’

It goes on to say: ‘It is clear that a great deal more research is required to unravel the interaction with sediment delivered to the near shore zone in Princes Charlotte Bay by tidal currents, and sediment delivered to the reef in flood plumes…’

The spokesman said the former cattle station would be destocked of cattle by October 31, 2017, when it would be declared a Nature Refuge under the Nature Conservation Act.

“The longer-term intent is to dedicate the property as a higher class of protected area as a conservation park. This process will be subject to a negotiated native title outcome through the Cape York Tenure Resolution Program,” he said.

“Implementation of a program of works to manage and reduce erosion on the property will commence in 2017.

“Research does indicate that sediment flowing into Princess Charlotte Bay comes from a range of sources including Lakefield National Park, which is a natural source.

“We know feral animals can cause soil erosion, which is why the Queensland Government has feral animal control programs in place in national parks including Lakefield.

“These activities aim to reduce the impacts of hard hoofed pests, particularly cattle and pigs that adversely impact on watercourses, and subsequently sediment erosion.”

Mr Elmes said: “The government’s own data shows they have wasted a lot of money buying this property and now they want to turn it into a conservation park, which most locals are dead against.

“It has over 4000 acres of cultivation paddocks and large dams suitable for irrigation and I don’t know where the so-called biophysical values are on the property.

“We agreed they could turn it into a nature reserve which allows cattle grazing but we do not want another huge area of wasteland which will be an enormous problem to manage.

“We will see the shire lose more of its small rate base and lose 4000 cattle from the local economy.

“When I showed staff at the meeting these are sediment figures from their own data, there was stunned silence.”

The 2013 study by the Cape York Local Marine Park Authority titled ‘An Empirically-based Sediment Budget for the Normanby Basin’ was funded by the Federal Government as a part of Caring for Our Country Reef Rescue Initiative.


Greens try to shout down Cairns croc meeting

The final round of crocodile management consultation meetings held in Cairns on Monday heard the Green rent-a-crowd of 20 hecklers and self- appointed crocodile experts howl down any sensible argument about removing dangerous reptiles from populated areas.

Local residents in favour of removing crocodiles were told by Katters Australia Party Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth the reptiles would be removed or as a last resort, culled along the coastline between Mossman and Mackay.

Cairns Crocodile meeting chairman Cr Brett Olds and KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth were often shouted down by vocal Greens.

Tourist numbers had been impacted and visitors no longer felt safe visiting the Far North, he said.

The sensible element of older Cairns residents, one of them a fourth generation settler, backed their reduction in numbers and removal of all reptiles from Cairns waterways.

He said there were no crocodiles in most rivers and creeks or Cairns Inlet 50 years ago.

“Everywhere was safe to swim and my kids were always in a local creek swimming on weekends,” he said.

“Once we could put up to 100 skiers in the water, now we can’t go near the ocean.

“There are young people getting into trouble because they have nothing to do and nowhere to go yet once they were in the rivers and creeks burning up energy.

“Even the life savers fear for their lives if they go into the water at beaches.

“Now I fear for my 17 grandchildren if they go anywhere near water and we cannot swim in the Mulgrave River or Lake Placid anymore.”

Another resident warned how kayaks paddled by kids along the Mulgrave River resembled a crocodile to large males and there were incidents where crocs had menaced kayaks and canoes.

“They have lost their fear of man and something has to be done,” he said.

Self-proclaimed crocodile expert Greg Watson said people should be trained to keep away from water and savage crocs should be left alone in Cairns waterways.

Resident David White said lots of people came to the area to see crocs in the wild and there was a large tourist industry depending on it.

“The population is recovering from almost extinction, but I don’t want to see anyone hurt so we have to handle this logically and with science.

“There were two surveys where 75 per cent of people were against culling. We have to do more about controlling people in crocodile habitats.”

Mr Knuth assured the meeting there were no plans to remove or cull crocodiles from the Daintree River.

KAP candidate for the seat of Cook, Gordon Rasmussen said he believed consensus could be reached between those opposing croc removal from urban waterways and those who wanted them removed. Cook takes in all of Cape York and is home to tens of thousands of  estuarine crocodiles

KAP candidate for Cook, Gordon Rasmussen said any safari hunting plans for indigenous communities would be in controlled areas north of Laura.

“We do not want crocodiles in Mossman, Port Douglas or Mareeba rivers and creeks and they must be removed, and I am sure we can find a consensus between those here opposed to and in favour of the legislation,” Mr Rasmussen said.

It appeared the Greens mob were showing more interest in attacking Bob Katter than engaging in any sensible solution with meeting chairman Cairns Councillor Brett Olds and speaker Shane Knuth.

Performing for the ABC, Win TV, Channel 7 and other reporters, an agitated deckhand from the Daintree engaged Mr Katter with an ‘in-your-face’ screaming effort but the seasoned politician of 50 years didn’t take the bait.

Daintree deckhand Damian Duffi tries to engage Bob Katter with an in-your-face screaming match performing for television cameras

Mr Katter walked away, further enraging the agitated deckie, Damian Duffi, by telling him he was “bored” with his illogical tirade.

The motley collection of about 20 vocal Greens, according to one supporter of the KAP plan, were mustered in a call on Facebook that morning, to “get as many as we can to the Katter crocodile meeting.”

“If this is the best they can do then we know we have the support of the majority of locals, not transient visitors from interstate,” Mr Katter said.

“”The three other meetings we held had many more attend than this meeting, and those people were 100 per cent in favour of removing the crocodiles.”

“The bill will be presented sometime this month,” Mr Knuth said.

Crocodile safari hunting legislation coming to Qld

Katters Australia Party will be conducting a series of public meetings beginning Wednesday April 12, at Mareeba, Innisfail and Port Douglas to gauge support for crocodile egg removal and safari hunting legislation to be introduced into the Queensland parliament.

Further meetings will be held at Mossman and Innisfail where salt water crocodiles have attacked humans or animals and menaced tourists over the past few months.

Where: Mareeba Bowls Club, Anzac Avenue at 1.30 to 2.30pm, Wednesday April 12.

Innisfail Senior Citizens Hall, Owen St, Innisfail, 5.30 to 7.30pm, Wednesday April 12

Port Douglas Community Hall, Thursday, 9.30 to 11.30am, Thursday April 13

Bob Katter, Robbie Katter Member for Mt Isa and Shane Knuth Member for Dalrymple will be in attendance.

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