WetlandCare Australia - Projects Archive
Farms, Fish and Floodgates Extension Program
Funded by NSW Environment Trust, the Farmers, Fish and Floodgates Extension Program was a comprehensive 'learning by doing' extension package for farmers and landholders to improve water quality and fish habitat. The program focused on the Clarence catchment (70%) with additional sites in the Macleay (10%) and Richmond Catchments (20%).
The project developed an information package on best practice for drainage management to affect fish habitat and a series of demonstration sites as the basis for an extension program. Targeting landholders and interested individuals in these catchments, the extension program was tailored to encourage land management practices to reduce drainage from acid sulfate soils.
A Project Officer, Cassie Burns employed by Wetland Care Australia and based in Ballina delivered the project outcomes.
Incentives for landholders to participate in the project included: provision of advice and technical support, examples of rehabilitation works programs, enlisting neighbour support and favourable publicity awards. The emphasis will be on farmers to gain first hand experience of 'solutions' to water quality problems emanating from their land rather than just hearing about the 'problems'.
On-ground outcomes were facilitated both directly and indirectly by cultivating linkages between landholders and existing programs including:
- Modification of floodgates - NSW Fisheries floodgate program
- Riparian revegetation - DLWC Riparian planting
- Drain redesign - Clarence Floosplain Project, Clarence River County Council, Acid Sulphate Soil Management Advisory Committee
- Monitoring - Local Government i.e., Clarence River County Council, Kemsey Shire Council, and Richmond Valley Council
Landholders found this package different from the 'print' and 'electronic media' that has been widely used by agencies to create awareness of the problems caused by farming techniques in the past.
The project employed a number of strategies to reinforce its credibility and effectiveness including:
- Forming alliances with existing industry organisations (e.g. NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative, Australian Tea Tree Industry Association, NSW Farmers Association, NSW Dairy Farmers Association.), local government and Catchment Management Boards
- Identifying and cultivating 'innovators' from within the ranks of landholders as 'model managers' (one activity node comprising one model manager and 2-3 engaged demonstration sites per valley for the Macleay, Clarence, Richmond and Tweed catchments)
- Undertaking a redesign of existing drainage schemes, rehabilitating marginal agricultural land to wetlands, establishing riparian vegetation along drains and wetlands, installing water control structures to control 'first flush' runoff containing pollutants etc -
- In conjunction with the relevant catchment and resource managers in each valley, establish a recognised education program which ensures a broad level of involvement of landholders who manage drainage schemes.
For more information contact WatlandCare Australia's Ballina office on (02) 66816 169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org