River

Goulburn Broken Landcare projects impress visiting US academic

Wednesday 13 February, 2013
A visiting USA Professor specialising in environmental and natural resources planning says she is impressed by the variety and success of Landcare projects under taken in the Goulburn Broken catchment.

A visiting USA Professor specialising in environmental and natural resources planning says she is impressed by the variety and success of Landcare projects under taken in the Goulburn Broken catchment.

Humboldt State University Professor Yvonne Everett visited sites across the catchment last week as part of a four-week tour of Australia

The catchment visit was co-ordinated by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Landcare Corporate Partnership Facilitator, Karen Brisbane, who had met Prof Everett in 2006 when she was in the USA on a Landcare scholarship.

"Yvonne is involved in similar volunteer natural resource management movements in the States and has worked with Landcare in Germany and Sri Lanka. She contacted me because she knows how strong the movement is here in Australia and wanted to find out more about why it works so well," Ms Brisbane said.

Prof Everett said the main purpose of her trip was to "learn about successful examples of voluntary natural resource conservation with a particular focus on efforts in which land owners/managers have collaborated across private property boundaries to achieve mutually beneficial goals at a larger landscape scale."

"As part of the larger comparative research with USA, Sri Lanka and Germany, I am trying to understand specific positive examples and the contexts in which they have emerged," she said.

On Thursday Prof Everett visited farms around Broadford and Kilmore to find out more about South West Goulburn Landcare's Farm Blitz project where new farmers are supported to embrace best management farming practices such as how to prune fruit trees and look after stock.

"We then visited Upper Goulburn Landcare member Terry Hubbard's property in Strath Creek to look at his post-2009 bush fire recovery work and learn about a new project in the area that aims to revegetate hill tops and reconnect vegetation," Ms Brisbane said.

A visit to Yea Wetlands with Upper Goulburn Landcare Facilitator Judy Watts wrapped up the day

On Friday, Professor Everett visited Gecko CLaN Pasture Cropping demonstration sites at Bungeet and Goorambat. The project promotes zero-till sowing of annual crops directly into native grasses as well as grazing management.

"During the afternoon we visited properties at Warrenbayne and Swanpool, looking at a range of projects such as green haystacks, break-of-slope plantings and to hear about a Farm Dam project," Ms Brisbane said.

"Yvonne was really impressed by the collaborative efforts and initiatives of Landcare, landholders and the Goulburn Broken CMA and what has been achieved. However, she said she thought it was concerning that project funding was only for a year as this must create some uncertainty for all involved."

On the final day of her tour Professor Everett joined the Australia Day celebrations at Murchison before heading to Healesville Sanctuary. "She was amazed by our native animals, particularly the Bilby," Ms Brisbane said. "She is now in Queensland meeting with colleagues at CSIRO and universities to talk about student exchange opportunities and enjoy the rainforest and reef areas."

Photo:  (from left) Karen Brisbane and Professor Yvonne Everett with Russell Ellis at his farm near Goorambat where Yvonne learned more about the Gecko CLaN’s Cropping Pasture project.