Little River Landcare Group Inc., from the Macquarie Valley in Central West of NSW (see map) has developed a Catchment Management Plan with funding from the Natural Heritage Trust and the TARGET project. This plan identifies priority issues facing landholders and the community within the Little River Catchment and the management strategies for dealing with these issues for long term sustainability.
The problems facing our catchment are: Acid soils, Dryland salinity, Soil Erosion, Water Quality, Riverside zones, Native vegetation, Pastures, Weeds and Pests. These will continue to face us for the next century.
Not addressing these issues now will see them continue to worsen and demand our attention more and more strongly.
Our plan goes on to look at 20 different strategies to stop these problems getting worse and to return our catchment to a more healthy, natural condition.
Our priorities for future action are:
- Dryland Salinity
- Soil Erosion
- Acid Soils
- Rural & Urban Community
- Water Quality
- Weeds & Pests
- Native Vegetation
- Riverside Zones
Priorities for Future Action:
- Encourage the catchment community to learn and implement strategies that will make our long-term future sustainable in line with our catchment plan's Vision Statement.
- Involve groups and individuals that are presently uninvolved.
- Be a valuable focal point for groups, organisations and agencies (e.g. schools, councils, community groups, landholders, government agencies).
- Help people to be better informed of the facts.
The plan will help landholders take action together, in a coordinated manner, to make efficient and effective use of funds, time and effort. Although some problems can be fixed individually, many such as dry-land salinity require coordinated action.
In addition we have had two surveys done. One for the Biodiversity Assessment and the other survey, the Sustainability Profile looking at socio-economic aspects of the catchment management process.
The plan involves three separate stages:
- Stage 1 - An introduction, and information on Physical Data.
- Stage 2 - "Best Management Options".
- Stage 3- Covers the costs and benefits of putting the plan into practice.
Stage 1 - Physical Data
This stage introduces the plan, the Landcare Group's vision and the goals for improving the health of our catchment.
It goes on to describe the current condition of our catchment in terms of climate, soils, geology, land capability, hydrogeology, vegetation and fauna, biodiversity, land use and socioeconomic information.
The "Physical Data" Reports are listed below, split into downloadable files sizes to ensure that those without a fast internet connection can access them.
Open / print the files below:
2. Catchment Description
3. Situation Statements
Stage 2 - Management Options
Stage 2 prioritises the issues to target and covers 20 "Best Management Options" (BMOs) for our catchment and what actions to take.
The BMOs are on-farm management strategies to help landholder stop or reverse land degradation in our catchment. Not all BMOs are relevant to all situations, but each landholder can make selection depending on their individual situation, location, goals, land use and limitations.
The BMOs can be grouped into different areas:
- Land Management
- Native vegetation
- Pest animals
- Farming systems
2. Planning Framework
3. Management Plan
Stage 3 - Costs & Benefits
Stage 3 covers the costs and benefits of putting the Plan into practice over the 10 year period of the Plan. Costs and benefits area calculated for a list of 14 BMOs (prioritised from the list of 20 in Stage 2).
Each BMO is analysed based on whether it is achievable, affordable, whether there are tangible benefits and whether it is consistent with the Central West Catchment Blueprint priorities.
The results of this analysis concluded that the following 7 BMOs were the most suitable:
- Use of soil ameliorants (e.g. lime)
- Strategic / rotational grazing
- Native vegetation conservation
- Conservation farming
- Perennial mixed pastures
- Strategic tree planting
- Buffer strips for riverside zones
The cost of implementing these BMOs is estimated at $46 million over the 10 year period of the Plan, however the estimated benefits are $59 million, leaving an estimated 10 year profit for $13 million, excluding the less tangible environmental practice.