For 69 Years Carey Brothers have operated a multi-species abattoir beside the banks of Swan Creek at Yangan near Warwick in Southern Queensland.
During that time their abattoir has grown to become a major supplier of the domestic meat market in South East Queensland, while the family business has also expanded to include retail outlets and a delicatessen in Warwick and Yangan.
However the abattoir’s future was looking uncertain at the start of this year when a third major flood in three years carved the banks of the nearby creek to within a few metres of the meat processing facility.
Without work to stabilise the banks, the abattoir was facing the very real prospect of losing part of its infrastructure into the creek with just one more serious flood.
Eleven months later, the future of the site is now looking far more secure following support from a range of organisations including the Southern Downs Regional Council and its local river trust, the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority, and the Condamine Alliance.
Two projects are planned to help secure the site and the stretch of creek frontage upon which it sits.
One project being funded with $350,000 from QRAA will see concrete piers constructed and joined to reinforce the banks below the abattoir.
Greg Carey told Beef Central on Wednesday that engineers had initially designed a rock wall to secure the worst affected area in the creek but had subsequently decided that a concrete pier approach would be required for the stabilisation to be effective long term.
The work on this major project is due to begin in July/August next year.
Another project now underway involves planting vegetation including gum trees on the riparian section of the creek upstream from the abattoir to help reduce the amount of future erosion in another area of the bank.
The Condamine Alliance is overseeing the project through its biodiversity project, Enrich, and flood recovery program.
The new vegetation project work is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund and the Queensland and Australian Governments’ Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald On-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program.
“It is important to note that the sections of the creek that were not severely eroded were protected by established trees,” said Andrew McCartney, Condamine Alliance General Manager Programs.
“Vegetation is essential to preventing erosion because the plant roots bind the soil below the ground and the foliage slows the water’s velocity on top” Mr McCartney said.
“It also allows more water to infiltrate the ground which reduces the amount of water inflow,” he said.
“When you compare sites with healthy vegetation to ones with no vegetation the results speak for themselves,”
After the flooding in January this year, Mr Carey said earlier floods in the family’s history at the site had been slowed by the presence of Willow trees in Swan Creek.
However the Willows were removed by the River Trust in the 1970s. Since that time Mr Carey said the flow had increased dramatically which had led to the severe soil erosion to the banks of the creek.