Improving land management practices
Increased knowledge of no-till and stubble retention practices has reduced soil disturbance and erosion in the Wimmera. The annual Wimmera Cropland Management Transect reflects the large increase in no-till practices, and the Vic No-Till Farmers Association has a strong membership base in the Wimmera region. Intensive consultation with community groups, agencies and partners through the development of the Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) highlighted there is now a common understanding that maintaining ground cover is the single most important thing a landholder can do to protect their soil from erosion.
Charles Sturt University undertook market research in the Wimmera in 2011, providing baseline NRM information on social trends as part of the development process for the RCS. The sample of 496 rural landholders nominated the decline in soil health as the equal most important environmental issues affecting our region.
The ILMP project integrated saltbush landholder incentives, group-driven sustainable farming trials, native pasture trials and perennial pasture trials and awareness-raising activities to improve practices and landholder capacity and intent to reduce the risk of soil erosion on poorly performing paddocks in key local salinity-prone areas.
- 13 landholder stewardship agreements for saltbush planting over 44ha.
- 3 native pasture trial sites over 24ha demonstrating the viability of establishing native pasture to improve fragile, infertile and unproductive soils and incorporating native pasture grazing into land management practices.
- 4 sustainable farming trials hosted by local Landcare groups with 76 farmers supported and demonstrating intent to improve at least 192ha of land. A site tour was conducted and landholders were surveyed about what practices they would modify and about the delivery of the project.
- 3 perennial pastures trials over 42ha.
- 36 participants attended a pasture improvement workshop on improved lucerne pasture management.
- 5 landholders supported to conduct variable lime trials over 150ha in a partnership involving the Wimmera and Glenelg Hopkins NRM regions.
Wimmera CMA engaged CSIRO to evaluate the delivery mechanisms used for this and other projects against best practice information or principles. The evaluation has found the group support which underpinned most components of the ILMP project met an important need within the community in facilitating landscape scale management. The evaluation also identified an opportunity to more effectively apply a prioritisation metric to saltbush land stewardship incentives, and this program improvement will be implemented as a result of the project.
The Perennial Pasture Systems group used support through the project to increase membership to 80 local farm businesses with a total farming area of 75113ha, managing 509,135 DSEs. The PPS group was recognised as the Wimmera Landcare Regional Group award winner and Victorian State Landcare Innovative Community Group Award runner up for 2013.
CMA Board membership has been strengthened by increased representation from the northern Wimmera plains in 2013. This outcome has been helped by the Landcare relationships supported through the ILMP project.
The project was funded by CFoC, Landcare Support and DPI (now DEPI) in-kind and ran from July 2012 to June 2013.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke is responsible for delivering a range of programs and projects on behalf of the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board and the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources. Working together with partners, volunteers and the broader Northern and Yorke community, Natural Resources Northern and Yorke’s business includes public lands responsibilities, encouraging sustainable production practices, and conserving and managing the regions environment.
Their work aims to achieve the targets set out in the region’s Natural Resources Management Plan. This plan was developed by the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board in partnership with the community, stakeholders and partners.
The Northern and Yorke (NY) natural resources management region extends for 34,500 square kilometres, or more than three million hectares. It is a varied and productive portion of South Australia and includes 1,350km of coastline and adjacent marine areas.
The region encompasses the Yorke Peninsula, the northern Mount Lofty Ranges, the southern Flinders Ranges and significant areas of Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.
The region supports a population of approximately 95,000 people who reside in agricultural, coastal and urban communities. It welcomes a large number of visitors each year to destinations that include Innes National Park, the Clare Valley and the Southern Flinders Ranges.
Natural resources underpin a range of industries. Approximately 80% of the region is under agricultural cropping and grazing production contributing a quarter of the South Australia’s agricultural earnings. The region embraces the major Clare Valley wine growing area, and supports significant mining and mineral processing activities, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, horticulture and tourism.
Northern and Yorke and its marine waters are home to:
- 1,299 native species of vascular terrestrial plants
- 33 native species of terrestrial mammals
- 304 recorded native bird species
- 91 native reptile species
- 9 frog species.
The major threats to natural resources in the region are:
- habitat fragmentation
- environmental weeds
- incompatible stock grazing and access
- feral animals
- over-abundance of problem native animals
- inappropriate fire regimes
- soil acidification
- inappropriate off road vehicle use
- excessive water extraction and storage
- coastal development
- overfishing by both commercial and recreational fishers
- nutrient pollution of marine environments
- introduced marine pests
- disturbance and destruction of intertidal reefs.
NQ Dry Tropics is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that is committed to sustaining our region’s natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations. They are a non-governmental Natural Resource Management (NRM) body operating in the 146,000km² Burdekin Dry Tropics region, which covers vast rural areas, as well as Townsville, Charters Towers, Greenvale, Ayr, Home Hill, Bowen, the lower Burdekin towns, Collinsville and Alpha. The natural resources include native plants and animals, rivers, oceans, beaches, paddocks and bushland. Well-maintained natural resources contribute to an excellent lifestyle and are vital to the region’s economy, which includes agriculture, horticulture, tourism, construction and mining.
Carefully and sustainably managing these natural resources will help to ensure that future generations can swim, dive, fish, keep cattle, grow crops, and generally benefit from all that this beautiful region has to offer. This can be achieved by taking actions such as controlling pest species, and reducing chemical and sediment levels in the region’s water, which can be harmful to waterways and the Great Barrier Reef. To have the best chance of success, the Burdekin Dry Tropics community needs to work together with industry and government on well-planned, adequately-funded projects that reduce impacts on natural resources.
This is where NQ Dry Tropics has a crucial role to play. NQ Dry Tropics employs experts in agriculture, biodiversity, wetlands, waterways, and partnership building. They also have extensive links to community groups, Traditional Owners, landowners, local and national industry bodies, and all levels of government. NQ Dry Tropics are perfectly-placed to bring all of these groups together to undertake projects that are innovative, cost-effective and hugely beneficial to the environment.
NQ Dry Tropics link dedicated individuals, tribal and community groups with funding opportunities to assist them to make positive and lasting contributions to the environment. They provide advice and support to landowners who want to introduce more sustainable practices on their properties. NQ Dry Tropics put on events to share best-practice solutions and celebrate successful outcomes…and that’s just the start.
NQ Dry Tropics provides the support that enables the Burdekin Dry Tropics community to lead the way in sustainably managing its land and water. Read more about their Programmes and Projects.