FBA: Lower Fitzroy streambank stabilisation project

Watching his property slowly be claimed by the river was the upsetting reality for Bill Kirkwood, property owner at Yaamba, north of Rockhampton. With 180m of land lost, and 515,000 tonnes of sediment washed down the river, it was no small victory for Bill, Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) and the Reef getting this loss under control.
By stabilising the riverbank on this property, Bill has created a better local ecosystem for stock and native animals; plus has left the land in better condition for the new property owners Grant and Rebecca Cassidy.  The future of the Reef is looking dramatically less murky with an estimated 23,000 tonnes of fine sediment saved from entering the Fitzroy River every year. When sediment enters the Reef it creates turbidity which leads to reduced light for seagrasses and coral which can reduce their growth and affect their reproduction and early development along with creating other implications.
Daniel Boshoff, FBA’s NRM Manager worked closely on this project and noted that, “everyone has a role to play in protecting the Reef. Land managers who reduce sediment run-off to improve waterway and reef health are helping to create long term benefits for everyone in
the Fitzroy region.”

Project Aim

Stabilise 900m of the Fitzroy River which is estimated to have lost 515,000 tonnes of sediment between 2008 and 2020. Since 1952,the bank has retreated 180m.

Works Summary

  • Aerial survey 2020
  • Site works and engineering design
  • 110,000m3 soil excavation, overburden used to create a raised paddock for stock safety in future floods. 28,000m3 of topsoil stripped, stockpiled and spread back
  • 1,352 log piles
  • 3,500 tonnes of rock for chutes and 300 tonnes for rock beaching
  • 10,000 native plantings sourced from local council nurseries (sedges, grasses, rushes and trees)
  • 1.3km stock exclusion fencing
  • Civil works completed October 2021 and fast establishing cover crop sowed before 2021 wet season


  • 900m of riverbank stabilised y bank battering and diverting overland flow to rock chutes
  • 43,000 tonnes* of sediments (including 23,000 tonnes fine sediment) saved from entering the Fitzroy River
  • Nesting habitat protected for critically endangered Whitethroated Snapping Turtle and Fitzroy River Turtle
  • At least 25 locals upskilled
  • 94 jobs created in the region, excluding (7) FBA staff
  • Collaboration between local suppliers and contractors
  • High flood event cattle retreat with water and feed
  • Improved resilience for the local ecosystem
  • Over $200,000 of specialised machinery secured in the region
  • Improved pest management

* Source: modelling from endorsed project site reports

The Fitzroy Water Quality Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with support from Fitzroy Basin Association, Greening Australia, Verterra and Catchment Solutions.

“This project is a big win for the Reef and the property owner. It has increased the land’s productivity and sustainability while also improving the landscape’s function. The multifaceted project is a great example of what can be achieved with great regional knowledge and focused collective effort. We look forward to what’s next.”

Daniel Boshoff, FBA NRM Manager