[cs_content][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Tablelands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: -50px 0px 0px;padding: 45px 0px -100px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_gap size=”50px”][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: -40px 0px -50px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” class=”cs-ta-justify” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 40px;”][cs_column fade=”true” fade_animation=”in-from-top” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ class=”cs-ta-justify” style=”padding: 10px 10px -40px;”][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mtn”]About the Northern Tablelands [/x_custom_headline][x_columnize]The Northern Tablelands is a mixed use rural area, with large parts under agricultural cultivation, interspersed with small acreage lifestyle properties and country towns, located in the Upper Mitchell River catchment, which straddles western shed of the Great Dividing Range. This area supports around 30 tropical agricultural crops, including bananas, sugar cane, mangoes, avocados and citrus industries. It includes the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area (MDIA), serviced by the townships of Dimbulah and Mutchilba, and the western extents of the Mareeba and Biboohra districts. The region also includes a large population of “peri-urban” residents on small acreage lots in the Cairns Hinterland, particularly in the Julatten/Mt Molloy area and the bush communities in Irvinebank and Watsonville. The Northern Tablelands supports a great diversity of regional ecosystems and biodiversity, as it straddles the three bioregions of the Wet Tropics, the Einasleigh Uplands and Cape York, and contains important landscape scale linkages for biodiversity, spanning a mosaic of wet tropical rainforests, open eucalypt woodlands, dry savannah country, and includes a network of important riparian corridors and waterways.[/x_columnize][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mtn”]A changing climate [/x_custom_headline][x_columnize]The climate of the Northern Tablelands is cooler than the grazing land further west into the Northern Gulf Region, and the agricultural industries of the MDIA are arguably more resilient to drought that grazing operations because of their access to irrigation water- however variability of stream flow could still threaten agricultural production by making irrigation supply unreliable and more costly. However, the rainforest, wet sclerophyll and open eucalypt woodlands of the Upper Mitchell are still exposed to hotter climates, longer dry periods and more extreme events like cyclones and wildfires, all of which have the potential to radically disturb and alter the composition of these native vegetation communities.

The biggest horticultural industries of the Northern Tablelands which are bananas, sugar cane, mangoes and avocados, are all exposed to big losses from damage caused by cyclonic events. Increased intense high rainfall events can also increase the pressure of weeds, pests and disease on agricultural production, and water logging can impact agriculture by limiting machinery operations and leach soils of their nutrient content, thus lowering soil fertility. High rainfall events will also exacerbate erosion in extreme rainfall events, and continue to rise saline ground water tables.

Climate change modelling of biodiversity highlights the importance of the Northern Tablelands to facilitate the movement of wildlife between bioregions and fragments of habitat, particularly in the Julatten and Mt Molloy area. This further illuminates the importance of maintaining and improving these connections into the future to facilitate refuges for wildlife populations migrating under altered climatic conditions projected in the future.[/x_columnize][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Tablelands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: -50px auto 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text class=”cs-ta-center”]

[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: -50px 0px 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_custom_headline level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”false” class=”cs-ta-center mbm”] Our Goals [/x_custom_headline][x_accordion link=”true” id=”ACCORDION” class=”mtl”][x_accordion_item title=”VISION” open=”false”]The Northern Tablelands of the Upper Mitchell catchment will have prosperous, efficient and diverse agricultural industries supported by healthy, fertile soils. The water quality and riparian health of the Walsh River catchment is protected from degradation caused by erosion, topsoil loss and elevated nutrient loads. Engaged communities in rural towns, commercial farms and on small acreages, maintain strong collaborative networks that contribute to healthy ecosystems and support abundant biodiversity.[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”TROPICAL AGRICULTURE” open=”false”]Intensive agricultural industries are supported to regenerate their natural resource base and improve their efficiency and sustainability in the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area (MDIA).

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”2.2 BIOSECURITY” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Partner with local government, agricultural industries and peri-urban communities to contain and control priority weeds and pests by educating and supporting local communities to address existing and emerging biosecurity problems.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”MINING LEGACIES” open=”false”]Communities are supported to improve their environs and waterways by managing the localised impacts of abandoned mines.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”2.4 WILDLIFE HABITAT” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Support local communities to restore ecological values by enhancing intact habitat within protected conservation areas while working across tenure to identify and build strategic landscape-scale linkages to facilitate the movement of wildlife and maintain their population viability.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”2.5 INDIGENOUS VALUES” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Build the capacity of Indigenous groups to actively lead NRM activities on their custodial lands, particularly initiatives which support younger generations returning to country.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”2.6 EDUCATION” open=”false” style=”display: none;”]Provide environmental education to peri-urban and rural communities, through schools and community initiatives.

[/x_accordion_item][x_accordion_item title=”COMMUNITY NETWORKS” open=”false”]Environmental education is provided to peri-urban and rural communities, through schools and community initiatives.

[/x_accordion_item][/x_accordion][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section bg_image=”http://plan.northerngulf.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Tablelands.jpg” parallax=”true” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ class=”mtn” style=”padding: 0px;”][x_accordion link=”true” id=”ACCORDION” class=”mtl”][x_accordion_item title=”Research Priorities” open=”false” style=”background:white;”]

What are appropriate and emerging crops and cropping systems for the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Area and the proposed Gilbert River Irrigation scheme?
What are the opportunities for diversification within the agricultural sector?
Viability of Poly-culture agriculture – alternatives to high pesticide/herbicide monocultures.
The extent of Mine site run-off in the Upper Mitchell catchment.
A research project to determine the effectiveness of mitigation measures in reducing salinisation through:
· Monitoring salinity before, during and after proposed land use changes and evaluate strategies for preventing salinisation;
· Undertaking a review of the effectiveness of mitigation measures used to reduce the risk of salinisation in Cattle Creek; and
· Based on the results of the above review of Cattle Creek using adaptive management, consider and implement if necessary alternative mitigation measures with the view of optimising future management of salinity.
A cost/ benefit analysis and feasibility study of different pricing schedule for irrigation water through market signals to incentivize and reward water use efficiencies in saline prone areas, based on a social science case study of irrigators in the Arriga plain.

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