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