Balancing agriculture and wetland management
By Nicky Bruce, Senior Land Services Officer
John Simpson, a farmer from the Jerilderie area, has four wetlands in the Murray Wetland Carbon Storage project. He is one of ten landholders in the project this year, with a further ten expected to come on board in 2015.
The Murray Wetland Carbon Storage project is a joint initiative of the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd. with Murray Local Land Services, funded by the Australian Government, which is bringing farmers and scientists together to rehabilitate wetlands. The benefits from a well managed wetland include: carbon storage, weed control, habitat for water birds, improved biodiversity, and a balance of productive agriculture with practical environmental management.
John Simpson is establishing riparian buffer zones around his wetlands to separate them from adjoining cropping lands. This will improve the health of the wetlands and reduce weeds. He says he is hopeful that the newly established trees and shrubs will provide shade and shelter as well as increasing the diversity of native plants and animals in this special area of his farm.
The project provides financial assistance and technical advice to landholders to improve their wetland management and undertake on-ground activities such as:
- Planting mixed local native vegetation
- Pest animal and weed control
- Altered grazing management
- Exploring options for environmental watering where appropriate and feasible
- Assistance to monitor, manage and enjoy individual wetlands
Why are Wetlands Important?
- They play a key role in water and nutrient cycles at the local and landscape scale
- Many endangered species use wetlands, eg. Southern bell frog and Australian Painted Snipe, a wading bird
- Provide nesting sites for water birds noted in international conservation agreements
- Wetlands can be significant cultural sites for indigenous people
- Enhance the productivity and environmental value of nearby areas