Rural Landholders Initiative

The Rural Landholder Initiative sign resting against a tree trunk.


Discover the forefront of environmental partnership!

Council's flagship program, the Rural Landholder Initiative, showcases a pioneering approach to collaborating with the rural community for environmental success.

Since 2015, initiative has powered 218 projects, nurturing 50,000 trees and managing 360 hectares. Active community engagement has surged, led by emerging champions.

The initiative offers annual grants to assist rural landholders with materials and labour for on-ground projects to protect and enhance areas such as koala habitat, riverbanks and remnant vegetation.

The most successful projects are those that take a planned approach, are widely consulted and have landholder effort already committed.

List of current successful projects(PDF, 155KB)

Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the eligibility criteria detailed in the Rural Landholder Initiative Guidelines for Funding(PDF, 581KB).

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.

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 property planning field day

Imagining the Dream: Project Planning for Bush Restoration

Goolmangar- Saturday 28 October 2023  

Guests are invited to visit a former grazing property at Goolmangar that has been transformed into a farm with diversified income streams and production. The landholder has partnered with Council to complete a project funded by the RLI to improve the riparian area of Goolmangar Creek that their property fronts.

The themes of the day are site planning, gathering resources, establishing your support network, and bush regeneration 101 with time for questions and discussions. The event will include a walkthrough of native plantings, and riparian restoration sites and an exploration of the various fauna onsite. The landholder will speak about his vision of transforming his overgrazed farm into a diversified rural holding.

Guests will need to BYO lunch and water bottle and be prepared for a day out (walking in areas of long grass). Council will provide morning tea. Tickets are free but you’ll need to register via Eventbrite


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 open on 6 November 2023 for rural landholders and close on 15 December 2023.

For advice, email  and keep an eye on this website for more information.

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


Round 11 applications open on 6 November 2023

More information coming soon. Watch this space!

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:

Video: Georgica Field Day – Rural Lifestyle and Biodiversity

Video: Whian Whian Field Day – Mixed Orchards and Biodiversity

Video: Coraki Field Day – Floodplain Cropping and Biodiversity

Video: 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 for protection and enhancement through weed management, revegetation, erosion control, and habitat improvement.

Landholders are encouraged to retain, rehabilitate, and conserve existing native floodplain vegetation on riverbanks and wetlands. 

Funding for fencing for stock exclusion and off-stream watering in sensitive riparian areas and wetlands on the floodplain may be eligible for up to $10,000 over two years.

Map - Lismore Floodplain Landscapes(PDF, 1MB)