Financial incentives are available for eligible landholders to protect and improve the quality of remnant vegetation and wetlands on their properties through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA’s) Nationally Significant Wetland and Woodland Ecosystem Conservation Project.
Goulburn Broken CMA Strategic Landscape Planner Jenny Wilson said past and current land management practices had resulted in the loss of much of the native vegetation in the Goulburn Broken Catchment, particularly in the Agricultural Floodplains where up to 97% of native vegetation has been cleared for agriculture.
“The native vegetation remaining on private land in the Agricultural Floodplains can be of poor quality with limited plant diversity, and a lack of native understorey and ground layer vegetation,” Ms Wilson said.
“Many of the remnant vegetation communities and wetlands remaining in the Agricultural Floodplains and the Productive Plains areas of the Catchment are nationally threatened.
“The CMA has funding from the Australian Government through the National Landcare Programme to assist landholders with financial incentives for the protection and management of these extremely important areas.”
Priority will be given to projects with the following types of vegetation on the property:
- Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands: Typically fed by rainwater (not linked to rivers or streams) these wetlands look grassy when they are dry but as soon as they fill up with water, the water-dependent vegetation comes back to life. The plants that occur within these wetlands are commonly a mixture of grasses, sedges and herbs.
- Box-gum grassy woodlands: Areas with widely spaced trees, dominated by White Box, Yellow Box or Blakely’s Red Gum. Grassy woodlands typically exist on the most productive soils and have been cleared for agriculture, which, in combination with high levels of grazing, fertiliser application and cultivation, means box gum grassy woodlands are critically endangered.
- Grey Box and Buloke Grassy Woodlands: Open woodlands usually found on clay-loam soils in areas that are seasonally inundated but rarely flooded for long periods. While Grey Box and Buloke are the most common tree species, Buloke may only occur as individuals or dense stands. Understorey species usually consist of native grasses and herbs such as Lilies, Daisies and Saltbushes and shrubs such as Wattles, Sweet Bursaria and Cassinia.
- Derived grasslands: These grasslands would have originally had a cover of the dominant Box Gum Grassy Woodland tree species. In some cases most or all of the trees have been removed, but the intact grassy areas remain and are still valued as habitat.
“By providing incentives to landholders to fence off these areas and to install dams and troughs as alternative watering points for stock, we will not only provide habitat for important local flora and fauna, we are helping build the Catchment’s resilience to the effects of grazing, cropping, rising water tables, increased nutrient levels, weed invasion and climate change that are very real threats to productivity.” Ms. Wilson said.
The funding assists with the costs of managing the area in accordance with a 10 year management agreement. Management actions are detailed in a site specific management plan and may include fencing, enhancement planting, alternative watering points and weed and pest animal control.
Incentive rates vary depending on the size and quality of the site as larger wetlands or areas of remnant native vegetation are important habitat for threatened fauna and flora species.
A higher rate is offered to landholders who permanently protect their sites through a Trust for Nature Covenant.
Interested landholders can contact Vanessa Campbell on 0419 258 105 for more information about the project or to organise a no obligation, free site visit.