Rural Landholders Initiative

The Rural Landholder Initiative sign resting against a tree trunk.


Step into the world of cutting-edge environmental collaboration with Council's flagship program, the Rural Landholder Initiative. Since its inception in 2015, this pioneering initiative has fuelled 218 projects, tending to 50,000 trees and managing 360 hectares of precious land. The initiative has become a catalyst for active community engagement, with emerging champions leading the way.

This ground-breaking initiative extends annual grants to rural landholders, providing essential resources and labour to support on-ground projects aimed at safeguarding and enriching critical areas like koala habitats, riverbanks, and remnant vegetation. The most successful projects are marked by a thoughtful, well-planned approach, extensive community consultation, and a strong commitment from landholders.

Join us in the forefront of environmental progress, where innovation meets community action to shape a greener, more sustainable future. 

Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the eligibility criteria detailed in the RLI Policies and Guidelines(PDF, 518KB).

In summary:

  • Only landholders who own land within the Lismore LGA are eligible to apply (community and industry groups are not eligible).
  • Lismore City Council staff are not eligible to apply.
  • Projects that are primarily for beautification or improving amenity without significant environmental outcomes are not eligible.
  • Projects are not eligible if they are part of any development consent condition.
  • Applicants must be up to date with rate payments to Lismore City Council for the property associated with the application.
  • All applicants must make an equal cash or in-kind contribution to the project funds and show value for money.
  • Successful applicants must be willing to sign an agreement to maintain the project site beyond the funding period.

These are the minimum requirements.

We STRONGLY RECOMMEND preparing a written plan for your project. Projects that clearly demonstrate where the landholders are already working on a progressive program of works have a much higher consideration when seeking public funding support. Eligibility criteria includes land ownership within the Lismore LGA, no past due rate payments to Lismore City Council, and a cash or in-kind contribution to the project. Successful applicants must also agree to maintain the project site beyond the funding period.

Examples of simple project plans are available in our Additional resources section of this page.

Round 11 applications now closed

The Rural Landholder Initiative Expressions of Interest for Round 11 have now closed.

For further enquiries email or contact Council’s Rural Landholder Initiative officer, David Dreher, on 02 6625 0500

Assessment tool

The Farm Health Assessment Tool is a self-assessment tool for land management practices and suggested pathways for improvement. These four booklets address land management issues for major industries.

Book 1: Healthy landscapes and waterways(PDF, 3MB)

Book 2: Beef grazing and dairying(PDF, 2MB)

Book 3: Macadamias and other orchards(PDF, 2MB)

Book 4: Floodplain cropping(PDF, 2MB)

Field days and grant funding opportunities are also available for landholders to improve their land management practices and protect the natural environment.

Upcoming field days in 2024

Following on from the Rural Landholder Initiative’s successful property planning events in 2023, we are excited to launch our program for 2024 with a workshop exploring the principles and techniques of Landscape Hydration and the works being pioneered in the Northern Rivers.

The Principles of Landscape Hydration Workshop and Field Day

Unleash the potential of your rural property! Join us for a dynamic workshop focused on revitalising your land and waterways. Learn cutting-edge techniques to enhance productivity and environmental sustainability including:

  • Restore landscape function,
  • Boost farm productivity and profitability,
  • Enhance natural capital; and
  • Contribute to climate change management.

Featuring Stuart Andrews of Tarwyn Park Training, renowned for advancing Natural Sequence Farming principles. Explore how to manage water flow and integrate vegetation, livestock and infiltration for holistic landscape management.

Join us at a local rural hall for interactive sessions and site visits showcasing successful landscape hydration projects. Connect with fellow landholders, exchange insights and learn innovative strategies for rural landscape management.

Morning tea and lunch provided. To cover the costs of our guest presenter, Council will be charging a very modest fee for this event. You can register your interest in the event now with ticket sales available from the 15 March. With limited number this is sure to be a sell-out event so register your interest today.

For more information, visit Tarwyn Park Training.

Register here

Future workshops

Our ongoing partnership with Boatharbour Landcare will be showcased in a May workshop, offering attendees a first-hand look at the positive benefits of collaborating within a community of like-minded landholders.

Later in May, we will join forces with Friends of the Koala to present their week-long koala festival. This event will focus on on-the-ground efforts to enhance koala habitat in our region, featuring walks and talks to explore core koala habitats and gain insights into the specific needs of these iconic local creatures.

Keep a close watch on this website for further updates on the workshop developments.

Enhancing the initiative for better outcomes

After eight years, a review of the initiative has targeted improved outcomes and streamlined delivery. Starting November 2023, individual private rural property projects can apply for increased grants (up to $15,000) over three years. This change acknowledges benefits from larger projects and timeframe needed for active management.

The grant shifts to biannual, allowing industry, community and groups to apply in alternate years for collective environmental projects. From November 2024, $50,000 grants over three years will target strategic outcomes across the region, like multi-property habitat projects. These enhancements to the initiative signify Council's commitment to environmental progress.

Round 11 applications closed on 15 December 2023.

Keep an eye on this website for more information.

For more, contact initiative officer David Dreher at or 0447 554 072 for details.


Free field days for local landholders

Lismore City Council offers free field days for rural landholders that focus on practical land management techniques, such as managing environmental weeds, restoring waterways, and protecting threatened species habitats.

The field days provide an opportunity for landholders to network, share experiences and learn from land management leaders.

Below is a series of short videos from some of our previous field days highlighting a range of interesting topics:

Georgica Field Day – Rural Lifestyle and Biodiversity

Whian Whian Field Day – Mixed Orchards and Biodiversity

Coraki Field Day – Floodplain Cropping and Biodiversity

Boatharbour Field Day – Grazing and Biodiversity in our Water Catchments

High conservation value areas across the LGA

High Conservation Value (HCV) is an area of land that supports important species, populations, habitats, or communities.

The Biodiversity Management Strategy identifies criteria for determining HCV areas, such as land containing threatened species or populations, key habitats for threatened fauna and flora, endangered ecological communities, priority vertebrate assemblages, koala habitat, rainforest, old growth forest, native riparian vegetation, wetland and estuarine vegetation, and very high priority wildlife corridors.

Council's Environmental Officers can provide more details and the HCV areas can be viewed on Council's online mapping tool

Restoration on the floodplain

The floodplains of the Richmond River are a priority to protect and enhance through weed management, revegetation, erosion control and habitat improvement. Retaining, rehabilitating and conserving existing native floodplain vegetation on riverbanks and wetlands is encouraged. 

Fencing for stock exclusion and off stream watering in sensitive riparian areas and wetlands on the floodplain may be eligible for increased funding of $2500 where it is undertaken with habitat restoration actions and a successful Rural Landholder Initiative project.

Restoration activities on the floodplains are informed by the Coastal Zone Management Plan. This is a catchment-wide initiative.