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

Recent event: Principles of Landscape Hydration and Natural Resource Farming

Our recent event at Goolmangar Hall was well attended with a great turnout from the community keen to learn more about the Principles of Landscape Hydration and Natural Resource Farming. Stuart Andrews of Tarwyn Park Training captivated his audience and landowners took the opportunity to expand their knowledge as we explored works undertaken by local landowners.  

We are excited to keep our conversations going as we continue to roll out our workshop program in May 2024.

Workshop: Boatharbour Landcare

Our ongoing partnership with Boatharbour Landcare will be showcased in a workshop on 4 May. We will look at works that have benefitted from collaboration between local landowners, Big Scrub Rainforest Conservancy and Envite Environmental. The day will feature explorative walks, informative stalls, and exciting hands-on activities. Walk through a long-term rainforest restoration project and take a glimpse into the endangered vegetation community of rainforest on floodplain. Learn about restoration activities and practical weed control techniques. Get involved as we study macroinvertebrates and what they can teach us about water quality and river health. Meet others in the community who share a love for nature on this family friendly day out. 

Register here.

Workshop: Friends of the Koala

Later in May, we will join forces with Friends of the Koala to support their Koala Conversations festival. This festival will focus on 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.

Lismore City Council will partner with Envite Environment and other presenters to highlight the practical steps landholders can undertake to manage and restore koala habitat on their properties. 

Improving Koala Habitat: A decision making workshop for Landholders will explore the forest types and species that koalas prefer. We will travel to a nearby site where the landholder has undertaken works through council’s Rural Landholder Initiative. While choosing the correct strategy for works can be a daunting process the immediate benefits of on ground works is clear to see on this site. We hope that our workshop will empower landowners by simplifying the process of managing koala habitat on their properties with practical advice and recommendations.

Register here

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.