Fog

Bush Returns under new scheme

Wednesday 18 January, 2006

The Bush Returns program encourages large-scale regeneration of native vegetation on private land in the Goulburn Broken Catchment by offering ongoing management payments to participating landholders.

Funding to landholders is set by a conservation auction and restoration benefits index to identify value for money proposals.

Landholders reveal how much money they need to carry out appropriate management and these ‘tenders or bids’ are compared against the conservation significance and regeneration potential of their site and the level of commitment they are offering.

Sites and management agreements are registered on the property title for 10 years, with some linked to a Trust for Nature covenant in perpetuity.

Biodiversity Projects Co-ordinator with the Goulburn Broken CMA, Carla Miles, said large scale re-establishment of native vegetation is needed to address biodiversity decline, dryland salinity and general catchment health.

“Encouraging natural regeneration of native vegetation is considered to be an ecologically sound and cost-effective way of addressing these issues,’’ she said.

The trial program has had two funding rounds over 2004-2005 and lessons learnt will be integrated into the future delivery of incentives across the Goulburn Broken Catchment. The program is funded through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality.

The first round of Bush Returns was implemented in the Violet Town area and saw 168 ha secured under the program with four successful landholders.

The second round was implemented over the entire Goulburn Broken Catchment and contracts are currently being offered to the 17 successful landholders, whose sites collectively cover 517 ha.

“Preliminary results from the program, which has essentially trialled a new approach to providing incentives to private landholders to conserve and restore landscapes, show that the average cost of securing and managing these areas is about $100/ha/year, however this varies for each site.’’

“The approaches trilled in Bush Returns will add another dimension to the mix of incentives currently offered in the GB Catchment, and will help to address the large-scale, landscape change that is required to meet catchment targets.’’

Release ends

For more information contact:

Carla Miles
Biodiversity Projects Coordinator
GBCMA, Yea. (03) 57972001.
carlam@gbcma.vic.gov.au