INNOVATIVE local producers were last week celebrated in the Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments' best project awards. Thirty projects were developed in 2011-12 and nine shortlisted in three categories.
Lachlan and Trudy Mace were inspired by neighbours for their fencing project at Toorilla, Stanage Bay which won the best coastal project.
They built a 6.84km fence to separate 285ha of estuarine wetland and 11 freshwater creeks from grazing pressure in the wet season. Water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon will be greatly improved. This project complements fencing projects on neighbouring Fernleigh, which won the inaugural coastal award in 2009.
Jeff and Karen Mills's riparian fencing project on Melrose won the best Fitzroy Basin project. Jeff and his late father Neville Mills have long been champions of sustainable natural resource management in the grazing industry.
The project saw 3.34km of riparian fencing erected along Ten Mile Creek and an existing dam in the next paddock fenced and equipped with a tank, water line and trough. Another dam was built and fenced as a water point to prevent cattle camping around the water, causing contamination.
Best horticultural project was won by Ian and Sandi Groves for biological pest control in fruit orchards at Middle Ridge.
Since planting pineapples in the '80s, they have grown quality mangoes, avocadoes, carambolas, longans, lynches and loquats. After seeing solar insect lights in China, the family sought to adopt them in their Yeppoon orchard. The unit uses a 12V battery, kept charged by a solar panel.
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