Bird

Protecting waterways benefits productivity

Monday 13 May, 2013
Colbinabbin district residents John Avard and Shane Ryan have long recognised the link between natural resource management and sustainable agriculture practice.

Colbinabbin district residents John Avard and Shane Ryan have long recognised the link between natural resource management and sustainable agriculture practice.

The men are both members of the Cornell Local Area Planning Implementation Committee (CLAPIC), which through its action plan manages natural resource management issues such as salinity, watertables, water quality, native vegetation, weeds and pest animals in a sub-catchment area between Rushworth and Rochester in North Central Victoria.

More recently Mr Avard and Mr Ryan have taken on the responsibility of supporting the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority's (CMA's) Flood Recovery Program by identifying suitable sites, liaising with landholders and providing a locally based depot for the Flood team to operate from and to store materials and equipment.

Mr Ryan, an irrigator, and Mr Avard, who is now retired but was in farm machinery sales, said they had put their hands up to be involved in the program because they had experienced firsthand the benefits of caring for land and waterways. "Years ago I realised that to stop the erosion I needed to fence off the waterways on my place and do some revegetation work," Mr Ryan said. "Trees also provide good shelter and cover for stock – that sort of work pays off."

Mr Avard, who for many years has advocated for controls to manage salinity, said he had covered "many miles" selling farm equipment and talking to farmers and could see "what was going wrong".

"There was bare ground everywhere .... Blind Freddy could tell you that we needed to put something back," Mr Avard said.

Both men were modest about the time and effort they put in to supporting community natural resource management initiatives. "Little towns, big motors," Mr Avard said. "Some people just get involved," Mr Ryan said.

Goulburn Broken CMA CEO Chris Norman said National Volunteer Week, with its theme of "Thanks a Million" was the perfect time to thank natural resource management volunteers.

"The Goulburn broken CMA relies heavily on volunteers, who give up their time and "do their bit" to help the environment, to deliver our programs," Mr Norman said.

"John and Shane's support has been crucial to the effectiveness of our programs for many years because of their local knowledge and relationships with landholders.

"The Goulburn Broken CMA is committed to improving the resilience of our waterways, biodiversity and landscapes but we can only do this with the support of community members."

To find out more about CLAPIC visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

Photo:  Shane Ryan (left) & John Avard (right)