Central Mallee Habitat Tender
A new program that pays local farmers to complete environmental works on their farm is now open in the central Mallee.
Funding is available for landholders to reclaim bare and blowing sand dunes, to level out the area and restore ground cover.
“Bare sand dunes are highly prone to wind erosion,” Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) chairperson Sharyon Peart explained.
“They can also harbour rabbits and contribute to salinity problems because there is no vegetation to stop rain from draining through to the groundwater.” Dune reclamations aim to restore vegetation cover and bring these areas back into production.
Tutye landholder Ken James has reclaimed several dunes on his property with excellent results.
“It’s made the dunes more manageable and valuable to me - I can now use areas which were once very unproductive and difficult to manage,” he said.
As well as increasing productivity, dune reclamations have environmental benefits by reducing the amount of soil being blown into native vegetation and waterways. Wind-blown soil can cause nutrient enrichment and increase weed spread in areas of remnant vegetation.
Dune reclamation usually involves levelling a site with a bulldozer, before refining the work using a tractor and grader board. Once the site is levelled, it is sown to a stabilising crop such as rye corn or triticale.
It is not cropped or grazed for at least two years to allow the site to stabilise. Depending on the severity of erosion risk, the land can be returned to a cropping rotation after two years.
Mr James said reclaiming dunes helped eliminate soil erosion problems on his farm and he is now able to crop one of his dunes with a cereal crop.
Landholders keen to complete dune reclamation works can apply for funding through the Central Mallee Habitat Tender. Other works funded through this program include salinity plantings, fencing off native vegetation, controlling pest plants and animals within native
vegetation, tree planting and conservation covenants.
The tender program will give landholders the flexibility to decide how much they want to be paid for completing any of these works on their farm. Funding will be awarded to proposals that represent the best environmental value for money.
Expressions of interest for the tender are now open. To find out more contact the Mallee CMA on 5051 4377 or visit the website at the Central Mallee Habitat Tender.
The Central Mallee Habitat Tender is being delivered by the Mallee CMA through funding from the Australian Government.