In our new monthly NRM roundup feature, we’re showcasing NRM highlights from around the nation, including innovative new projects and progress updates. This update represents just a handful among the hundreds of NRM projects going on across Australia, which are made possible through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Image credit: Vera Hong/ via Murray LLS

In Southern NSW, a pilot program is helping local rice growers show their sustainability credentials to the world. Supported by Murray Local Land Services the project is developing an accreditation process that will demonstrate Australia’s world-leading production systems and commitment to environmental sustainability and water efficiency. Australia’s rice farmers are among the most efficient in the world, and this project will help them to sell their sustainability story on the global market.

Survey responses identified the West Tamar and South Esk areas as key habitats

NRM North recently ran a landholder survey to find out how Eastern Barred Bandicoot are faring in northern Tasmania. With information from 300 respondents, they now have a clearer picture about how to improve protection measures, such as excluding stock from habitat, improving degraded habitat and controlling cat populations in key identified areas.

Regent Honeyeater pair in Capertee Valley (credit: Dean Ingwersen)

Victoria’s North East CMA is launching ‘Bush for Birds’, a five-year project to help landowners create and improve habitat for Victoria’s threatened bird species (namely, Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrot). Working with Trust for Nature and other key partners, this project will address the key threats and recovery actions for priority species – particularly improving the quality and quantity of woodland habitat.

Image credit: Wikimedia/CSIRO

Tradition Meets Innovation. A new project in central Queensland is combining traditional practices with modern carbon farming. The project will use traditional mosaic and fire-stick farming practices to regenerate native forest and control non-native species on three properties in the Burnett Mary Catchment, in partnership with the Burnett Mary Regional Group, NRM Regions Queensland, and Central Queensland University. Regrowing native vegetation will stabilise and improve the soil, reducing the amount of sediment that makes its way to the Great Barrier Reef.

Cover cropping can bring a myriad of benefits to soil health

Terrain NRM in Queensland have released a new soil health video all about the benefits of cover cropping. With expert information from agroecologist David Hardwick and featuring five local farmers this seven minute video is packed with a wealth of information. Cover cropping is not only great for improving soil health for primary crops, but can also yield a cash return. Available to view at the link.

Rob Grylls, a farmer from Gabbin, brews a compost tea. Image credit: Wheatbelt NRM

Wheatbelt NRM, in WA’s Avon River Basin region, has announced a new project investigating how some local farmers are using composted waste to tackle declining soil carbon on their farms. These natural techniques help to regenerate soil health and biodiversity, and can reduce farmers’ reliance on synthetic fertilisers. The project will follow farmers undertaking these practices and will include soils testing and economic modelling to determine the impact of these practices on soil health and productivity.

Image credit: Jean Turner

Natural Resources SA-Murray Darling Basin have just completed the first year of a five year Regional Land Partnerships project focussing on the Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland of SA  – a threatened ecological community. The project is working towards improving the condition and extent of these grassland habitats, and Natural Resources SAMDB is working closely with landholders, research experts and the region’s Aboriginal community. As part of this project, grassland ecologists from around SA recently attended a workshop to discuss how best to protect and improve native grasslands. This workshop was the first of a series of events that will be included in the project.

Installing sensors in a citrus orchard

A soil moisture monitoring project supported by Perth NRM has released its first project update. The project is investigating the use of sensors to monitor the efficiency of irrigation techniques and has the potential to maintain/improve farm productivity with less water resources. Over the first six months of the project, growers in Wanneroo, West Gingin and nearby areas learned about how to interpret trends in the data and the benefits and limitations of soil moisture sensing. Most growers involved in the study now regularly consult soil moisture data when programming their irrigation. Response to the study has been positive and some growers have bought additional soil water sensors and installed them in other irrigation blocks on their properties.

Waykarr Guruwiwi (Traditional Owner/Wäŋa Wataŋu) and Hamish Wakuratjpi Gondarr (Ranger) searching beach sites in Dhimurru IPA for spoil heaps.

Territory NRM has been working with Indigenous ranger groups across Arnhem Land and on Groote Eylandt to survey areas for the northern hopping-mouse (Notomys aquilo). This vulnerable rodent has not been seen on the mainland in decades and is currently only known from Groote Eylandt.  Nine rangers and Traditional Owners from Djelk and Warddeken Indigenous Protected Areas and seven rangers and two Traditional Owners from Dhimurru IPA were involved in the surveys. Hundreds of kilometres were covered in potential inland and coastal areas through aerial and on-ground surveys within Djelk and Warddeken IPAs. Mainland surveys then continued in Dhimurru IPA where thorough ground searches were conducted over a week and camera traps were set in coastal areas surrounding Nhulunbuy and along Cape Arnhem.