Case Study 1:

Riparian revegetation and exclusion fencing.

This case study was made possible through the State NRM ‘Raising Capability’ Program

This case study was made possible through the State NRM ‘Raising Capability’ Program

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Fact File

 

Location:

Project Name:

property Size:

Property Use:

lANDHOLDERS:

Revegetation Contractor:

Bessell Road, Rosa Glen

State NRM Capabilities

91 hectares

Farming – grazing of cattle and sheep

Justin Carroll & Marnie Hamilton

BreTt Dennis, Landforms


bACKGROUND

Justin and Marnie bought their property in 2012. The previous land owner had grazed sheep and had planted poplar trees as wind breaks and to assist in the lamb’s nourishment. Since Marnie & Justin purchased the property they have predominantly grazed cattle, subsequently the poplars that were once controlled by grazing sheep became dominant in the landscape causing a number of issues that needed to be addressed. Poplars are deciduous trees, they cast intense shade in spring and summer which affect the ability for other native flora from growing beneath them. Hindering other flora species growth resulted in little if no understory vegetation, especially on the bank of the natural winter creek running through the property causing the bank to be more prone to erosion. Secondly the lack of understory meant there was little if no biodiversity, essentially a monoculture which reduced suitable habitat for native fauna. The area had become weed dominant.

Further to this, the brook was not fenced off, therefore effluent (from grazing cattle) was flowing downstream effecting local waterway quality.

mOTIVATION

Justin & Marnie heard about the opportunity to work with the Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee through their neighbour Tim Crimp. Tim and his family helped Justin and Marnie out when they first started running cattle and suggested they take up the opportunity for soil testing to improve their soil’s health. Further, knowing the poplars had become a problem on the Carroll’s property, with an understanding of Justin and Marnie’s vision for future usage of their property, Tim also informed them of the Regional Estuaries Initiative opportunity to do some riparian revegetation work with the Lower Blackwood LCDC which could include stock exclusion fencing of their riparian zones.

Justin and Marnie had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve on their piece of land. They had previously put in a dam wall; they wanted a dam for future water use, for aesthetics and recreation. Previous to the revegetation work the case study area had been in poor condition as previously described and inaccessible to them. With a young family, they were keen to improve their waterway’s health and create a sustainable natural landscape that could be utilised and appreciated in more ways than one.

Challenges: There were many challenges!

  • Firstly, the poplars didn't want to die, this is an ongoing challenge for the Justin and Marnie.

  • The revegetation area is an enormous, this in itself is a huge challenge. The site access is difficult as the site is very steep and the ground is loose and very muddy.

  • The steers are challenging to keep out. Unfortunately, they recently caused a severe setback. Cattle pushed their way into the revegetation area and did extensive damage to the whole revegetation area. Much work needs to be done to fix the damage and get to the point it was at before the damage was done.   

Contractor Considerations, Recommendations & Advice

  • Owners objectives - Justin and Marnie wanted to create a revegetation landscape that was aesthetically pleasing, naturally sustainable and useful for outdoor recreation;

  • Site specific factors/conditions – length of the creekline, presence of perennial weeds (eg. kikuyu grass & cape weed), dry and windy summers, weed invasion, potential issues with neighbouring properties-sediment transport downstream and livestock invasion and pressure.

  • What resources were available

Specific farm considerations:

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  • Weeds - being a farm there is a significant source of weeds – paddock species are weeds that if not grazed they out compete native plants.

  • Soil variability – this site had clay through to quartzy sands, thus plant choice must be species that can cope with the difference in soil moisture and chemistry.

  • Transition between seasons – a lot of moisture at the end of winter- water logged etc, however no sunshine means little growth. No rain for just a few days and the land dries out causing plants to struggle as no time to adjust to changing conditions.

  • Wind – especially the summer south easterlies. The biggest factor as wind strips foliage, reduces moisture availability – its more pervasive than the sun as is a problem 24 hours a day (can cause moisture evaporation at night as well as in the day) rather than just 11-12 hours a day.

  • Interactions between stock (cattle & sheep and horses) and the plantings. Can set a project back by 12 months. Cattle cause the most damage, their mass & numbers. Often cattle are a commercial venture thus the farmers put more value on the stock. If stock breakthrough the damage is quick. Thus, fencing work done previous to planting is integral to a successful revegetation planting.species are weeds that if not grazed they out compete native plants.

Plant Selection

The biggest key to the success is the choice of plants and planting technique. Choosing plants that will require less follow up. Plants that can cope with the particular landscape. Plants chosen should be able to replicate a natural system, where in five to ten years visually it will not be obvious that the planting has been done. This does depend on the economic resources and the land owner’s objectives.

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Plants used on this site:

Large species:

  • Eucalyptus patens (Black Butt)

  • Corymbia Calophylla (Marri)

Medium species:

  • Melaleuca rhaphiophylla

  • Melaleuca preissiana,

  • Agonis Flexuosa (Peppi tree),

  • Banksia Littoralis

  • Banksia Paludosa (swamp banksias)

  • Myoporum montanum (water bush)

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Small species:

  • Melaleuca Incana (grey honey myrtle)

  • Beaufortia sparsa (swamp bottle brush)

  • Callisachys lanceolata (Native Willow)

  • Hakea oleifolia (olive leaf hakea)

  • Hakea prostrata

  • Taxandria linearifoli (swamp peppiment)

Sedges:

  • Baumea

  • Juncus pallidus

  • Juncus krausli

  • Lepidosperma effusum

  • Lepidosperma gladatium

  • Meeboldina sp.

In this project, sedge species are the largest in number as they provide the initial structure and ground cover protection from weeds so better for other species to become established. Further sedges give protection to other species from wind, traps sediment and provides cover to invertebrates.

Read more about using rushes & sedges in the South West in this guide.

Alternatives:

Sometime unfortunately compromise is necessary due to availability. However the choice needs to be made, do you do a big area with plants that are not so suited or do you plant out smaller areas with plants that are best suited well.  First choice should always be to do a smaller area well and continue to the process at a later date when plants become available;

When the cattle made a breakthrough to the revegetation area, they did a lot of damage and unfortunately due to lack of availability some of the blackbutts will be replaced with Marris’. 

Planting Technique

Planting technique is integral to success. Different plants like different conditions, some like wet feet others need to be further away from the waterway so the planning and arrangement of the different plants is very important. Further, how you plant the plant, the planting hole preparation is also important to each plant’s success. The size and the depth as well as ensuring the soil edge is not compacted.

Read more on revegetating riparian zones in south-west Western Australia

OUTCOME

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The work done by the Lower Blackwood LCDC was a huge help. Financially it has helped, it has cost a lot more to do than Justin and Marnie originally thought. Further, more importantly the expertise and time given has been fantastic. Chiara, the LBLCDC Project Officer, has helped with keeping us on track and has purchased all the plants using her extensive knowledge and has organised for Brett and team to do the planting. If we were trying to do on our own it would not be as good and defiantly would not be as far along as we are now. The help has been awesome.

Maintenance requirements:

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  • The planting is designed to reduce maintenance and for the area to become self-sustaining.  

  • There will be some weed control necessary every few months;

  • Next year there will be some secondary planting;

  • Sedges should be established and we will be able to plant some colonising species, rapidly growing sedges spread from rhizomes in the base and out-compete which is very valuable for natural and ongoing weed control;

  • Watering of key species (especially the trees) initially in the warmer months of the year, this will assist in them getting established quicker.

The Future:

Once Justin and Marnie recover from the recent damage to the area by the cows, environmentally, they would like to try and get their bush back to a more natural state. They have 25 acres of remnant bush which has been logged quite heavily. They would also like to plant some more trees, but at this stage there are no new projects imminent. Marnie and Justin will continue with soil testing on an ongoing basis.

Want to get involved yourself? Read more about how.

More guides & information on protecting waterways:


CASE STUDY 2:

RIPARIAN REVEGETATION AND EXCLUSION FENCING.

This case study was made possible through the State NRM ‘Raising Capability’ Program

This case study was made possible through the State NRM ‘Raising Capability’ Program

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FACT FILE

 

LOCATION:

PROJECT NAME:

THE PROPERTY LOCATION:

PROPERTY USE:

LANDHOLDERS:

REVEGETATION CONTRACTOR

Scott River

Regional Estuaries Initiative

Milyeanup Road, Scott River

FARMING – GRAZING OF CATTLE

Tim & Zoe Prosser

Cape Life


BACKGROUND

Tim and Zoe Prosser manage a large beef operation on their Scott River property. They are passionate about protecting their native bush/vegetation and waterways while also running a successful business. They have been active in land care projects in previous years. Tim and Zoe have previously undertaken the fencing of 57 Hectares of remnant bush and are keen to ensure their land and waterways health for the longterm. They understand the theory behind the riparian revegetation work and understand the implications for the land and water quality if the work is not completed. Tim and Zoe are aiming to achieve sustainable farming.

MOTIVATION

Tim heard about the REI program opportunity through being a member of the Lower Blackwood LCDC. The land was generally grassed creeklines that were starting to wash a little. The main thing they wanted to achieve was to get the creeks fenced and revegetation done to try and keep the creeks in good condition because the project area is one of their major creek lines and they could see real value in having them fenced off. It was also a chance to get some shelter belts for a couple of paddocks.

CHALLENGES

The weather was a challenge, having a late cold start made spraying difficult for getting the creeks ready. Also, the cold wet winter delayed planting and made access difficult

CONTRACTOR CONSIDERATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS & ADVICE

SPECIFIC FARM CONSIDERATIONS

  • Weed control - There were two pre-planting weed control works completed before planting took place. The timing of these works was crucial to eliminate weed competition for planted seedlings.

  • Fencing - Fencing of the riparian zones to protect the area from livestock damage. The fencing was installed by the land owner ten metres either side of the high-water mark at both creek lines.

  • Stock crossing points – two stock crossing points for creekline 1 and one stock crossing point at creekline 2.

CHALLENGES

  • Weed control was delayed due to weather restrictions.

  • Some of the plants suffered due to being planted too soon after herbicide application.

  • Tree guards installed for one third of the shrub/tree species – those that are prone to predation and damage from adverse weather conditions.

 
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Pre Project 1.jpg

PLANT SELECTION

Prosser Species Mix Breakdown.jpg

PLANTING TECHNIQUE

Planting was undertaken with pottiputkis (planting tool) and a small hand held auger depending on the species requirements and seedling pot size.

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OUTCOME

15,000 seedlings, including trees sedges and rushes, have now been planted along thes creekline to stabilise the banks. 

To prepare for their revegetation works, Tim & Zoe previously installed 3.5 km of stock exclusion fencing, stock crossing points and undertook two pre‐planting weed control sprays. The timing of the weed control works were crucial to the process, eliminating weed competition for the seedlings.

 Tim & Zoe have also fenced off a beautiful and pristine Melaleuca wetland, providing a perfect habit for native orchids .

Maintenance requirements

  • There will be ongoing weed control – A follow up weed control in spring to ensure the seedlings have minimal competition leading into summer. Herbicide applications need to be undertaken carefully, hand spraying around seedlings or using grass selective herbicides;

  • Tree guard maintenance – Tree guards were installed with stake facing the prevailing wind to minimise movement but will need monitoring, particularly post significant wind/weather events. Staged removal will be required.

  • Fence integrity/maintenance to ensure live stock are kept out.

According to Tim, the main value in using the Lower Blackwood LCDC to assist with this project was the knowledge and access to all the relevant people to get the job done properly so that it lasts.

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WANT TO GET INVOLVED YOURSELF? READ MORE ABOUT HOW.

MORE GUIDES & INFORMATION ON PROTECTING WATERWAYS: