High Priority Actions

These tables summarise the HIGH Priority actions for Research and Monitoring and Management contained in the Water Quality Management Plan.

High Priority Research and Monitoring Actions

Action No.

Monitoring and Research Action


Research on surface and groundwater resources, including aquifer recharge rates and connectivity between groundwater and surface water springs in the Laura Valley and upper Normanby catchment.  Develop Water Resource Plan for the upper catchment.


Monitor environmental water flows at springs, streams, and rivers; particularly downstream from current and proposed water extraction and impoundment sites. Assess potential impacts on downstream water availability, water quality and environmental values. Develop Environmental Water Flow Guidelines. 


Develop a “Super Gauge” approach at key river gauge sites to better quantify long-term water, sediment and nutrient loads and actual changes over time. Use continuous surrogate measurements of suspended sediment and bedload with width and depth integrated samples.


Improve monitoring of nutrient and sediment loads delivered to PCB from Normanby, Bizant, Kennedy and Marrett River (flood events and tidal flushing). Improve load calculations(sediment and nutrients) and develop loads targets.


Research into river sedimentation (sand/silt from gully and bank erosion and in-filling of rivers and wetlands

Identify key deposition areas- wetlands and river channels

Compare current and historic rates of deposition

Quantify the effects on surface water flow and habitat for aquatic animals (fish, turtles)


Research appropriate fire regimes for erosion management, weed control, and pasture productivity on hillslopes and river frontage country.


Develop effective methods for weed control using innovative techniques (competition, biological, mechanical, chemical).


Researching effects of cattle exclusion or spelling in river frontage on vegetation and alluvial gully erosion rates. Large-scale, long-term trials of improved land management practices (cattle, fire, weeds, roads, fences) are needed in areas of alluvial gully erosion and high erosion potential soils along river frontage.  Detailed monitoring of erosion and water quality outcomes. Reassess BMPs for erosion reduction and ABCD Framework.


Assess the market potential for payments for ecosystem services (soil, carbon, biodiversity retention) to reduce alluvial gully erosion along river frontage at the property and landscape scale.


Investigate and identify dominant sources of nutrients and sediments in PCB flood plumes (including  sediment tracing and nutrient isotopes)


Research coastal erosion processes in the lower Normanby coastal plain, to understand whether this process constitutes a long-term threat to the GBR.


Undertake research on the coral reefs surrounding PCB (cores and direct measurement) to determine the relationship between catchment land use and sediment/nutrient export to the reef.


Investigate the role of shipping induced sediment re-suspension in the shipping lanes off PCB and the potential impact of the resuspended sediment on nearby reefs.


High Priority Management Actions

Action No.

Management Action

HEV/HCV area


Document aquatic sites of high cultural value (HCV) and traditional protocols for use of these areas

Melsonby, Laura River, East/West Quinkin Country, Kings Plain, East/West/Granite Normanby, Rinyirru NP.  Others


Investigate Indigenous and Environmental Water Allocation for Laura River

Laura River


Provide financial and advisory assistance to land managers for detailed grazing property planning and the implementation of integrated actions including the management of grazing pressure, fire and weeds in river frontage country and BMP fencing & road construction.

Priority grazing stations on erosion hotspots, newly acquired indigenous owned properties


Spell or permanently exclude cattle from river frontage country at erosion “hot spots”. Fencing constructed according to BMPs. Monitor vegetation cover and water quality outcomes.

Priority grazing stations are identified on erosion hotspot maps


Increase the number of extension officers with relevant expertise in soil conservation, grazing and horticultural land management. Advise land managers on soil conservation techniques and conduct grazing management workshops including the use of climate forecasting.

Catchment wide


Commence socio-economic analysis of current grazing land management compared with alternative practices to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution.

Catchment wide


Property based monitoring of water quality impacts to identify priority sites for investment and monitor outcomes from altered land management

Catchment wide- grazing & horticulture properties


Provide assistance to landowners to identify and adopt improved management practices to reduce run-off of topsoil, losses of fertilisers to groundwater and surface water and minimize use of pesticides.

Downstream from Lakeland  region (Laura River & Boggy Creek) and new developments on East & West Normanby


Develop a Water Resource Plan for surface water and groundwater use in the Lakeland region based on a scientific assessment of water resources, current and future uses (stock water, irrigation, domestic) and environmental water flow requirements.

Laura River, East and West Normanby River


Conduct detailed review of road practices and develop draft BMP guidelines for main road and track construction and maintenance to reduce erosion in the Normanby catchment, especially on sodic soils.

Catchment wide- Numerous HEV ecosystems are threatened by the cumulative impacts of roads.


Workshops with Cook Shire, Qld Main Roads and local operators to trial and adopt the draft BMP guidelines and update/ improve guidelines over time.

As above; On-ground investments should focus on erosion prone soil areas


Trial and implement alternative fencing methods to reduce erosion. Assist landholders to identify suitable fence & track locations and erosion reduction methods based on topography & soil types.

As above


Upgrade roads to minimize erosion at high erosion sites and assess options for relocating sections of roads adjacent to HEV wetlands

Catchment Wide and localised.

Rinyirru (Lakefield) NP


Conduct catchment wide coordinated Fire Planning to balance management needs, identify appropriate fire regimes for riparian areas and river frontage country, reduce the area of high-intensity late-dry season burns, and ensure the same areas are not burnt each year. Avoid consistently using riparian zones and river frontage as fire breaks. Monitor annual burns via NAFI and ground observations.

Catchment-wide impacts on downstream HEV areas


Provide assistance to landholders to adopt traditional mosaic burning regimes and conduct early-dry season burns to prevent late dry season fires, protect riparian vegetation and river frontage country and minimise impacts on water quality from erosion.

Catchment-wide; priority sites as per mapped erosion hot spots


Conduct research into the most suitable fire regime for riparian areas and erodible soils to reduce fire impacts on erosion and water quality.  This research should involve property or multiple property scale fire management trials and monitoring of erosion and water quality impacts.

Catchment-wide HEV ecosystems; priority trial sites as per mapped erosion hot spots


Approval of mining exploration permits to take into account the cumulative impacts on HEV and HCV aquatic ecosystems (i.e., surface water quality and quantity, groundwater, earthworks, roads, weeds, shipping impacts, metals and contaminants, oils, fish, seagrass, turtles, dugong, dolphin, etc.). 

Catchment wide


Conduct baseline studies on surface and groundwater resources necessary for assessment of mining impacts including: groundwater and surface water connectivity; baseline water quality outside of existing monitoring areas in the catchment; water flow for environmental needs at downstream HEV sites, and potential impacts on Environmental Values. Develop Environmental Water Flow Guidelines.

Catchment wide- anywhere mining & exploration is proposed


Approved exploration and production activities are monitored in detail for impacts on water quality and quantity (environmental flows). Independent monitoring/auditing by 3rd parties.

Catchment wide


Continue and increase feral animal control methods at unfenced HEV and HCV areas

Priority HEV and HCV wetlands


On-going Treatment to eradicate Hymenachne from Rinyirru NP; identify and target upstream sources in the catchment (i.e. Kalinga Station).

Rinyirru NP


Reduce the spread of Sicklepod along river frontage country by providing assistance to landholders for management and researching biological control options.

Laura & Normanby Rivers