Field day showcases success of Karuah-Borland Landcare Program

Guest speakers for the day. Hunter Local Land Services staff Abbey Henry and Rye Gollan, Dr Jaimie Potts (DPIE), Dr Steven Local (University of Newcastle), Dr Zacc Larklin (DPIE) and Drew Norris (MidCoast Council). Photo: Tara Campbell.


IN 2020, eight farmers in The Branch undertook work on their farms and properties to improve wetland and riparian corridors along the Karuah River.

Visitors were encouraged to come along to a free field day on Friday 21 May for presentations about the program as well as a walk on one of the farms involved in the project to see the improvements.

Dr Steven Lucas presented a short talk about how the improvements came about.

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From drone surveying every property to create a three dimensional land plan, to summer water analysis in The Branch, the program helped and supported property owners to protect their land, whilst creating a sustainable farming environment.

The Karuah-Borland Landcare program is a partnership between local farmers, MidCoast Council, Hunter Local Land Services, Landcare Australia and Karuah Great Lakes Landcare.

Rye Gollan from Hunter Local Land Services said, “We’re trying to help farmers transition away from generational management.

“Overall our goal is to help farmer’s increase their productivity, but also recreational fishing as well as professional aquaculture,” he said.

“We’re linking up all these different projects in the sub-catchment for the sake of broader catchment benefit,” Rye said.

Dr Jamie Potts from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment addressed the attendees, breaking down the specifics of how projects are monitored.

“With this project and others in the area, we’re looking at monitoring improvements in ecosystem health and various other variables as a result of similar works that local councils have implemented including cattle exclusion fences and Riparian revegetation.

“We’re looking at water quality variables including the amount of sediment in the water, faecal bacteria in the water like E. Coli and we’re also looking at a range of other ecosystem indicators like vegetation composition, fish and frogs and water bugs; so we measure these things widely.”

Through the project, over 270 hectares of wetlands and 50 hectares of riparian vegetation has been secured on The Branch and Karuah rivers.

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