Farm­ers learn river health tips

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - REPORTER NEWS - Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

FARM­ERS from around the South West gath­ered at a Benger farm on Wed­nes­day to learn how to turn a per­ceived nui­sance area into an as­set.

Farmer Dar­ren Kelly hosted the Ri­par­ian Man­age­ment Work­shop on the banks of the Welles­ley River, shar­ing his first-hand knowl­edge with help from Leschenault Catch­ment Coun­cil project of­fi­cer Julie Palmer.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil, the Welles­ley River is one of the most pol­luted rivers in the South West, and cor­rectly man­ag­ing ri­par­ian zones – the area bor­der­ing rivers and streams – was key in clean­ing up the wa­ter­way.

“What goes into the Welles­ley goes straight into the es­tu­ary, and this pro­gram is all about re­duc­ing our im­pact on the river to be­gin with,” Ms Palmer said.

The work­shop was part of the coun­cil’s Re­gional Es­tu­ar­ies Ini­tia­tive in which farm­ers could ap­ply for fund­ing to fence off wa­ter­ways, plant na­tive buffer­ing veg­e­ta­tion and in­stall live­stock water troughs to man­age ri­par­ian zones, which are of­ten per­ceived as a nui­sance area.

“The idea is to plant buffer­ing na­tive veg­e­ta­tion to cap­ture runoff from pad­docks such as fer­tiliser and live­stock ma­nure,” Ms Palmer said.

“If man­aged cor­rectly, ri­par­ian zones can be a real as­set to the farm by act­ing as a bio-fil­ter, as a habi­tat for na­tive flora and fauna and for pre­ferred species like birds which per­form eco-ser­vices such as re­mov­ing un­de­sir­able in­sects.”

Mr Kelly said the fenc­ing and reveg­e­ta­tion he had done through the pro­gram had been a “win-win” for the farm and the river.

“Through us­ing the river we were con­tribut­ing to its demise,” Mr Kelly said.

“This is one small step to negate that.” The coun­cil part­nered with the Depart­ment of Water and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion and the Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­de­vel­op­ment for the fouryear project funded through Roy­al­ties for Re­gions.

Bruce Buchanan, of Bun­bury, and Juliet and Corbin Fell, of Ar­gyle, talk about con­ser­va­tion af­ter the work­shop.

Sri Lloyd, of Ea­ton, and Milena and Jeff Phillips, of Nog­gerup, share ideas about what they learnt over a cuppa and a bis­cuit.

Toby Har­rold, of Ea­ton, and John Why­att, of Thomp­son's Brook, have a cuppa af­ter the work­shop.

Pic­tures: Jac­inta Can­ta­tore

Dar­ren Kelly and Leschenault Catch­ment Coun­cil project of­fi­cer Julie Palmer in­spect the progress of the ri­par­ian veg­e­ta­tion at his Benger prop­erty.

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