Water

Natural Disaster Recovery Program

Reef Catchments is working to restore and increase the resilience of our region in response to the impact of natural disasters, in particular Severe Tropical Cyclone (STC) Debbie.

Australian and Queensland Government funding has been provided through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Program (NDRRA). Our recovery projects have a long-term goal to help build a landscape more equipped to withstand and recover from any natural disasters of the future.

Oakey Creek.Cyclone Debbie impact

STC Debbie crossed the Queensland coast at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays on the 28 March 2017 as a category 4 cyclone. With wind gusts of up to 268 km/hr, an eye that was up to 100 km wide and a speed of as low as 4 km/h, STC Debbie and associated floodwaters caused widespread destruction throughout the region.

Waterways in many areas were flooded and cut away banks up to 30 m into productive land and left vertical banks of up to 6 m high. Banks were stripped of vegetation, with sheer unstable banks that were highly susceptible to further erosion.

What we’re doing

Reef Catchments current disaster recovery projects are focused on remediating priority sites. Each site has undergone spatial and hydrological assessment to determine the best option for remediation. Remediation options being utilised include a combination of bank profiling, log jam structures, pile fields, rock reinforcement and revegetation.

Projects will be delivered in two stages, as outlined below.

RC Stage 1 projects

  • O’Connell River – Additional rock protection and revegetation to be installed at four priority sites to prevent continued scour and outflanking and to protect areas of past investment. O’Connell River case study.
  • Bakers Creek – Additional rock protection at outlet of Reef Catchment’s constructed wetland
  • Oaky Creek to undergo a reach scale program of management including bank stabilisation and increasing riparian vegetation. Oaky Creek Case study and More information on the Oaky Creek Restoration program

RC Stage 2 projects

All works were completed at the end of June 2019.

Funded partner projects

Mackay and Whitsundays Regional Council’s and the Whitsunday River Improvements Trust also received funding for projects under the NDRRA. Works will be conducted at sites on the Proserpine River, Campbell Creek in the Whitsundays and Little McCready’s Creek, Mackay.

River restoration information

Reef Catchments Disaster Recovery Projects follow advanced science and standards of practice for river restoration. For more information and case studies of techniques used in river restoration see Reef Catchments’ River Restoration webpage.

Key Contact – Chris Dench

Chris Dench.
Position: Project Officer – Healthy Waterways
Phone: (07) 4964 6102
Mobile: 0407 538 724
E-Mail: Chris Dench

This program is funded by the Australian and Queensland Government’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. Obtaining this funding was only made possible due to initial investment from Reef Catchments, Canegrowers Mackay and the Whitsunday River Improvements Trust to undertake the rapid assessment of the impacts of Cyclone Debbie and quantify works required.