WetlandCare Australia -Projects Archive
Northern NSW Upper Tributaries Rehabilitation project
Wetlands and rivers in Australia have suffered from a historical decline in biodiversity and water quality as natural areas have become fragmented and degraded. Completed in late 2010, the Upper Tributaries Rehabilitation Project has worked closely with landowners to rehabilitate over 20 hectares of high conservation value wetland, riparian and remnant rainforest areas in the upper tributaries of the Mann and Richmond rivers.
A 1 kilometre stretch of Paddy's Swamp Creek, a tributary of the Mann River on the New England Tablelands, was fenced off from cattle. The Glen Innes Natural Resources Advisory Committee (GLENRAC), have provided the landowner with 400 trees native to the area with which to commence revegetation of the riparian zone.
In the Clunes region of Northern NSW, near Lismore, a total of 4 kilometre of fencing, over 15 hectares of weed control and the planting of almost 2000 rainforest species has seen the protection and enhancement of critical biodiversity values as well as the protection of wetlands and waterways from stock access and farm runoff.
This project has also trialed innovative bush regeneration methods such as:
* The long stemmed planting technique, whereby the root mass and much of the stem of the juvenile plant is planted deeply into the soil column. For particular species superior survival rates have been found as a result of factors such as better access to nutrients and water (the root ball is usually situated below that of the surrounding plants thus reducing competition) and greater stability in flood events
* Planting fig trees into crevices of mature camphor laurels ï¿½ a long term strategy that will eventually result in the death of the camphor
* Planting in high densities so as to mimic natural regeneration
* Direct seeding from local seed stock, also to mimic natural regenerative processes.
These actions will improve water quality in adjacent creeks and wetlands, with additional benefit for the larger rivers they flow into. Water quality tests have been conducted in order to assess the improvement over time. Connectivity across fragmented native vegetation remnants has also been given a boost through weed control and strategic revegetation. Overall, this will have a net benefit to both biodiversity and farm health.
The landowners and the wider community have also been provided with technical assistance through specialist bush regeneration advice, training in the use of the Wetland Assessment Technique, and a field day that was held in September to showcase the work that was done under this project.
The project has been greatly assisted by the tireless efforts of the participating landowners, all of whom are deeply committed to restoring the ecological integrity of their properties.
This section of Coopers Creek is highly erosion prone. The riparian area has been fenced off from cattle access and planted with over 150 fast growing pioneer rainforest trees and groundcovers in order to stabilize the bank as fast as possible. Seeds of the black bean Castanospermum austral tree were also direct seeded into the creek banks.
Use of the long stemmed planting method ensured that even in high flow events, when the water line reaches over the top of the bank, the plants did not get washed away.
These trees survived the high rainfall that occurred in the Northern Rivers region in the first week of October 2010, which saw the fast flowing water rise all the way over the creek bank.
This fig tree, Ficus macrophylla, is thriving in the trunk cavity of a mature camphor laurel, and will eventually grow to take over the whole tree.
The effect of unrestricted cattle access can be seen in this section of Perryï¿½s Swamp Creek, prior to being fenced off. The condition of the creekbanks and the quality of the water will now be greatly improved as a result of cattle exclusion and riparian revegetation.