Paddock to Reef

The Paddock to Reef program, which is supported by both the Queensland and Australian governments, at the regional scale is designed to collect new information on adoption and relative effectiveness of farm management practices. The information collected is used directly in the annual Reef Water Quality Protection Plan report card as well as input data for catchment models.

Reef Catchments has facilitated Implementation and reporting on the sugarcane paddock and sub catchment scale water quality experiments at North Eton for more than four years with technical reports for each year, as well as three year synthesis reports available for download.

Australian Government Reef Programme

The Australian Government Reef Programme (formerly Reef Rescue) provides grants to individual landholder projects and industry wide projects that aim to improve water quality from sugarcane and grazing production systems.

The initial Reef Rescue program of five years was a great success in Mackay with 1286 individual water quality improvement projects undertaken with 942 land managers. The Reef Rescue program contributed $32,480,973 into the Reef Catchments region with our local land managers and industry contributing a total of $88,085,029. Projects focus on improving agricultural land management practices relating to soil, herbicide and nutrient management with sugarcane growers, graziers and horticulturalists. The results of the first five years of this program were tremendous, thanks to the high level of land holder support.

Through the new Australian Government Reef Programme, Reef Catchments is currently managing a new round of Water Quality Improvement Grants available to sugarcane growers and graziers, including an innovation research and planning component and extensive work in systems repair.

Project Catalyst

Project Catalyst supports innovative sugarcane growers through a pioneering partnership between Reef Catchments, the Coca-Cola Foundation and WWF with support from the Australian Government Reef Rescue program.

Over the last five years Project Catalyst has expanded from the original 19 growers to 33 growers in the Mackay Whitsunday region along with 20 growers on the Wet Tropics region and 20 growers in the Burdekin region. Through the validation and adoption of improved practices by 73 sugarcane growers managing over 20,345 ha of cane land, the water quality of more than 101,725 mega litres of run-off and drainage water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef, has been improved.

Grower Gerry Deguara demonstrates the kind of innovation Project Catalyst supports in this video about his mill mud spreader.

Key Contact

Michael Boland of Reef Catchments Mackay

Michael Boland


Michael Boland
Position: Coordinator –  Sustainable Agriculture
Phone: (07) 4968 4215
Mobile: 0419 191 373
EMail: Michael Boland


Project Catalyst


Reef Catchments works closely with the three regional Landcare groups to role out projects, support land holders and enhance the natural landscape of our beautiful region. Key programs look at pest and weed management and

Pioneer Catchment and Landcare group
Sarina Landcare Catchment Management Association
Whitsunday Catchment Landcare