Rural Landholder Initiative assisting landholders through incentives and education
The Rural Landholder Initiative is a key part of Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy. It is a rural landholder capacity building project that involves education opportunities and incentives, largely in the form of small grants. The program was designed with Southern Cross University and works with landholders restore and enhance biodiversity assets on private land.
This program started in 2015 with grant funding from the NSW Environment Trust ($100,000), which was matched by Lismore City Council with another $100,000. The program is now ongoing due to a special rate approved by the NSW Government in February 2016.
The Rural Landholder Initiative was developed based on findings in Southern Cross University’s Incentives Report. This report is based on a 12-month study into the best ways to engage landholders through incentives. This included a landholder survey to find out what farmers wanted and how best Council could help them conserve natural areas on their land.
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This email newsletter will notify you of upcoming grant opportunities and field days, events, education and training opportunities, and information on weeds and treatments.
The Rural Landholder Initiative recognises the hard work that many landholders have contributed already to restoring Lismore’s biodiversity values. This grant program hopes to build this capacity and to be a catalyst for restoration works on private rural land.
Grant opportunities under the Rural Landholder Initiative program will be advertised in Council’s fortnightly newsletters Local Matters, which is delivered into Lismore letterboxes. The frequency of grant opportunities and the focus of restoration works will depend on the funding available at the time – so keep an eye out.
Generally Council will provide material and professional labor assistance to undertake:
- Environmental weed control
- Regeneration and/or revegetation with local native plants
- Stabilising stock crossing points
- Plantings for erosion stabilisation
- Fencing and off-stream watering to exclude livestock from floodplain waterways
- Landholders are expected to contribute their time and resources to maintain the project sites and in cases work alongside professional bush regenerators.
Projects must demonstrate their real on-ground benefit to high conservation value areas, such as:
- Linking habitat corridors
- Restoring rainforest and remnant vegetation
- Repairing and restoring river and creek banks
- Creating or enhancing habitat for threatened species, including the koala.
Farm Health Assessment Tools and Education Booklets
Lismore City Council, in partnership with Southern Cross University, has developed a Farm Health Assessment Tool. This tool enables landholders to self-assess their own land management practices against those identified as ‘out-dated’, ‘common’ or ‘best’ practice' in a range of land use situations. There are suggested pathways for improvement and landholders can use the tools as a form of ‘self-monitoring’ when managing biodiversity on their properties.
These booklets were developed in consultation with industry groups, landholders and relevant experts in land management.
There are four booklets which focus on different land management issues in major industries in the Lismore LGA.
Book 1: Healthy landscapes and waterways (this applies to ALL landowners)
The following books are in addition to Book 1:
If you wish to provide feedback about the booklets, please email us at email@example.com
Field Days and Events
Free Rural Landholder Initiative Biodiversity Field Days
These field days focus on practical ways to manage rural properties to address common issues such as:
- Techniques to effectively manage environmental weeds, including camphor laurel, coral trees, lantana, privet etc.
- Restoring waterways and managing erosion
- Looking after soil biology to reduce landholder costs
- Restoring habitat for threatened species such as koalas
The field days are a great opportunity to meet other landholders and to hear about what they have been doing.
These field days are held on properties where the landholders have demonstrated exceptional land management practices and have great vision to improve their land for biodiversity. Council refers to these landholders as ‘landholder champions’.
Council will hold five field days every year that focus on five major land uses: floodplain cropping, beef grazing, orcharding (including macadamias), dairying and ‘lifestyle’ properties.
A series of short videos on some of the field days highlights the range of topics and interested participants:
Other Useful Links and Our Partners
Southern Cross University: http://scu.edu.au/
Rous County Council: https://www.rous.nsw.gov.au/landing.html
Richmond Landcare Inc: http://www.richmondlandcare.org/
Soil Care: http://www.soilcare.org/
Wetlandcare Australia and Conservation Volunteers Australia: http://www.wetlandcare.com.au/index.php
North Coast Local Land Services: http://northcoast.lls.nsw.gov.au/
Friends of the Koala: http://www.friendsofthekoala.org/fok/