Dairy farmers and graziers across northern Tasmania are making the most of an exciting opportunity to deliver best practice on-ground projects to improve waterway health on their properties in the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary and Esk rivers catchment.
These projects are made possible through the hugely successful Tamar Action Grants, managed by NRM North and implemented as part of the Tamar River Health Action Plan - Catchment Works Program.
Improving the health of the Tamar estuary is a key initiative under the Launceston City Deal to support making Launceston one of Australia’s most liveable regional cities. The Catchment Management Program resulted from the work undertaken by the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce in developing the Tamar River Health Action Plan.
Under the program, the Australian Government is investing $6.5 million and Tasmanian Government is investing $5 million in catchment works over six years. The establishment of Tamar Action Grants, now in its second year, supports grazing and dairy landholders within the Tamar Estuary and Esk Rivers catchment to keep livestock out of waterways through funded activities including: the installation of waterway fencing; provision of alternative water supply; stock crossings; riparian revegetation; and effluent management upgrades on dairy farms.
In just over 12 months, since the launch of the Tamar Action Grants, over 300 km of waterway fencing has been approved for funding. This will exclude over 10,000 cows, 147,000 sheep and 1,500 dairy cows from entering waterways, resulting in a significant reduction in pathogens making their way down to the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary.
NRM North Catchment Coordinator, Jesse Webster, says additional environmental benefits will result from restricting such large numbers of stock from our waterways.
“Every project has the primary goal of reducing pathogens from entering the waterway by excluding stock, but once stock are removed you will see the vegetation bounce back which reduces potential bank erosion, allowing riverbanks to become more resilient to flooding, decreasing sediment entering the waterway and improving water quality for everyone,” he said.
Ben Morrison is one landholder on the Nile and South Esk Rivers who was very grateful to receive funding through the Tamar Action Grants.
“Funding of this size doesn’t always come along, so as a landholder you need to jump on-board these opportunities. The flexibility of the program allows us to construct 7 km of river fencing and install ten new water troughs over two sites, excluding 13,400 sheep from the river. The funding has also allowed us to invest our own money into removing around 25 ha of gorse across both properties and plan for revegetation which will be great for the long-term recovery of the river”, Mr Morrison said.
NRM North has already contracted over 40 percent of the total program target for waterway fencing and stock exclusion, however, there is still plenty of opportunity to participate. The program runs for another four years, with the next closing date for applications on Friday 3 July 2020. Graziers and dairy farmers interested in funding opportunities are encouraged to contact NRM North on 6333 7777 or visit www.nrmnorth.org.au, especially for properties within priority areas 3 & 4, which include the Fingal Valley, Northern Midlands and Meander.