Reef Catchments ready to improve water quality – Janes Creek and Mackay Gooseponds

Reef Catchments has received funding to deliver an exciting new project, working with farmers and contractors to improve water quality in the Janes Creek Catchment, and on into Mackay’s urban area.

The project will engage all cane farmers, graziers and harvesting contractors in the Janes Creek catchment to improve practices, conduct system repair and install treatment solutions.

Reef Catchments will deliver a whole-of-system project integrating management practice adoption, system repair and treatment solutions.

Water quality improvements will then be evaluated and monitored.


The Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region has been identified as requiring a 70% reduction in dissolved organic nitrogen (DIN) for all catchments, and is a priority region for reducing pesticide run-off.

Sediment has also been identified as a priority pollutant requiring reduction in the Pioneer Catchment (Draft Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022).

The Janes Creek catchment is approximately 1700 ha, consisting of approximately 60% sugarcane production and 30% grazing. Runoff from this productive land flows into Janes Creek before entering the Gooseponds constructed wetlands in Mackay City.

Runoff entering the Gooseponds is extremely high in nutrients, with DIN up to 14.4 times higher than the Water Quality Objectives (Foord, 2016). Equally pesticides Ametryn, atrazine, diuron and hexazinone at Janes Creek exceeded [State] water quality guidelines (Jeston, 2017).

While the catchment covers 1700 ha, the number of agricultural landholders within the catchment is small with ten sugarcane growers and five graziers. This enhances the manageability, effectiveness and opportunity for improved agricultural management practice change of the project.

The Janes Creek project provides significant opportunities to positively influence local agriculture communities towards improved water quality management practices and activities.

Funding for this collaborative project has been provided by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Reef Water Quality Program, Central Queensland Reef Water Quality Projects.    

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