Bird

Locals support Land Forum

Thursday 17 June, 2004

More that 90 people attended the recent Land Management Forum in Benalla.

Landholders from the Benalla region were invited to participate in a panel discussion with representatives from the Department of Primary Industry (DPI), Goulburn-Murray Water(G-MW) and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Issues raised highlighted landholders concerns on stream health, storm water, salinity, weeds, biodiversity and the very successful Heartlands program.

The Forum was organised for the Mid Goulburn Broken Implementation Committee, which is committed to meeting with communities in the catchment throughout the year to discuss issues of concern to landholders.

River Health and Heartlands presentations updated delegates on progress with these major local programs. Upotipotpon farmer Chris Dunster also gave a pictorial presentation on land improvements achieved using a variety of grants on her family property.

Delegates shown a great deal of interest in the Heartlands program and pressed Dr Hamish Cresswell, CSIRO, for more information on recent salinity research.

The Heartlands program has been recipient of funding from the Foundation for Rural Research and Renewal (FRRR) to facilitate aerial geophysics research, which maps varying concentrations of salt at different levels under the ground.

Initial research had shown significantly high levels of salt in the Honeysuckle Creek catchment, however subsequent test drilling has indicated that groundwater salinity levels are not as dangerous as previously indicated.

“This shows the importance of follow up research,” Dr Cresswell said. “While the aerial geophysics is a valuable tool we always follow up with test drilling to validate the information and in this case we were pleasantly surprised at the results.”

“There is definitely salt under the ground but not at the high levels shown in initial testing,’ Dr Cresswell added. “Subsequent findings show that the salinity around Violet Town does not currently pose a significant risk.”

“Surface water logging indicated around Baddaginnie is not groundwater induced although there is some salt above the water table.”

“Trees and other perennials will be used to control recharge on hills and slopes around Caniambo and Kialla East where salt stores have been identified, as well as engineering strategies to intercept groundwater.”

Dr Cresswell reiterated the importance of additional research and continuous checking and re-checking of results.

Many delegates requested further information after the Forum. The Implementation Committee will ensure that all questions are answered in a timely manner and will continue to consult with the community throughout the Mid Goulburn Broken catchment to gauge community opinion.

For information an all natural resource management issues call the Benalla CMA office on 5761 1611.

Ends

17th June 2004

Contact: Poppê Davis
Dryland Community Liaison Officer
Goulburn Broken CMA
Ph 5761 1540
Mob 0427 866 328
Email: popped@gbcma.vic.gov.au