Sugar Research and Development Corporation final report Project CTA013 Spatial analysis of the impact of land use on nutrient loads within the Herbert River Catchment
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This Project arose out of concerns for the apparent increase in nutrient and sediment contaminant loads in Queensland coastal waters since European settlement (e.g. DEAP Report, 1992). At the time of Project inception, the origins of this increase had yet to be defined and quantified, however, the sugarcane industry was considered to be a likely contributor because of the large (and increasing) areas of sugarcane involved and the relatively high fertiliser inputs per unit area. There was, therefore, a need to develop practical tools to integrate existing information and spatially model, at the catchment scale, nutrient and sediment losses from agricultural land. It was the Project teams’ intention to provide tools to analyse important issues/questions relating to the sustainable management of existing and potential sugarcane lands of the Herbert River catchment. In response, four core areas of R&D were undertaken. These were: 1. Data collection and integration; 2. Spatial analysis of the impacts of land use and management practices on water quality; 3. Tools for decision support; and 4. Building stakeholder capacity.