Regional Estuaries Initiative (REI)

The Lower Blackwood LCDC is working in partnership with local agencies and landholders to improve the health of the iconic Hardy Inlet through a range of on-ground works including:

  • Fencing & Revegetation of Riparian Zones

  • Soil Testing

  • Smart Farming Partnerships

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  Justin Carroll & Marnie Hamilton,  2018 program participants.   “The work done by the LBLCDC was a huge help. Financially it has helped, it has cost a lot more to do than we probably first thought. More importantly the expertise and time given has been fantastic.”

Justin Carroll & Marnie Hamilton, 2018 program participants.

“The work done by the LBLCDC was a huge help. Financially it has helped, it has cost a lot more to do than we probably first thought. More importantly the expertise and time given has been fantastic.”

Fencing & Revegetation of Riparian Zones

Restoring stream function through stock exclusion fencing and revegetation reduces soil erosion and organic loading while also enhancing the uptake and removal of nutrients.

Funding is available through the LCDC, with landowners to erect stock-exclusion fencing and/or undertake riparian revegetation and buffer planting.

The program is open to grazing farmers on both large and small properties located in the Lower Blackwood Catchment.

Project sites are to be situated on a natural water course or drain with preference given to fencing drains when revegetation is also considered.

Landowners must contribute at least 50 per cent of the cost of the project through either cash or in-kind contributions for example, installation of fencing or completion of revegetation. 

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  Brad Noakes,  dairy farmer from Forest Grove 2017 soil testing program.   “The soil testing program was great value for us and the whole farm nutrient map provided us with the information we needed to help with the planning of our fertiliser programs. It’s been a good program to be involved in and I’d recommend it to all farmers in the catchment”.

Brad Noakes, dairy farmer from Forest Grove 2017 soil testing program.

“The soil testing program was great value for us and the whole farm nutrient map provided us with the information we needed to help with the planning of our fertiliser programs. It’s been a good program to be involved in and I’d recommend it to all farmers in the catchment”.

  • What's in it for me?

  • Can I apply?

  • How much will it cost?

  • Get involved!

Soil Testing

The Lower Blackwood LCDC will provide on ground support for farmers in their catchment interested in understanding their fertiliser needs to save money, maximise pasture growth and prevent excess nutrients from being washed into waterways.

As a part of the program, grazing farmers in the Hardy Inlet (Lower Blackwood) Catchment have access to pasture tissue testing, soil testing across their whole farm and nutrient maps showing nutrient surplus and deficiency.

Testing is combined with local workshops to learn how to use nutrient maps and access to personalised, one-on-one agronomic advice with an accredited advisor.

The program has been running for over nine years and has shown that more than 70 per cent of the 14,000 paddocks tested have phosphorus levels higher than needed for maximum pasture growth.  The excess application of phosphorus not only affects farmers’ bottom line but is an issue for the water quality of waterways and estuaries in the south west.

The program includes financial incentives with farmers receiving testing valued up to $5000 and additional advice and support to tailor their fertiliser programs.


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Smart Farming Partnerships – local fertiliser trials

Fertiliser trials will soon be underway that aim to improve confidence in fertiliser recommendations for local soils and conditions. A desired outcome of the trials is increased uptake of evidence-based fertiliser application that optimises production whilst reducing excess run off of nutrients into waterways and estuaries.

The major aspect of the trials will be to test different levels of phosphorus application to optimise production and minimise runoff . Some trials will also include evaluation of innovative technology to measure pasture productivity and soil nutrient status (such as nearinfrared and x-ray fluorescence)

Trials will be run over three growing seasons – established in early 2019 and 2020 and will be established and monitored by scientists and agronomists on a Technical Reference Group with local advisors and host farmers. The Lower Blackwood LCDC will provide a point of contact between scientists and farmers.