Our Rural Landholder Initiative assists landholders through education and incentives

The Rural Landholder Initiative is a key part of Lismore City 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 to restore and enhance biodiversity assets on private land.

Information for rural landholders

Council’s online Interactive Mapping Service may assist you to find out environmental information about your property.

Council has produced a range of booklets (available below) on the major environmental issues for five land use types in our region: beef graziers, dairy farmers, orchardists, floodplain croppers and rural ‘lifestyle’ landholders.

The booklets offer ideas for improving land and waterway management practices for biodiversity and includes a Farm Health Assessment Tool so that landholders can self-assess their practices.


Biodiversity eNewsletter

Go to the bottom of this webpage and sign up in the 'Subscribe' section for our quarterly Lismore Biodiversity News.

This email newsletter will notify you of upcoming grant opportunities and field days, events, education and training opportunities, and information on weeds and treatments.


Grant Program

Rural Landholder Initiative grants are currently closed. Advertisement will be placed in our fortnightly publication Local Matters and in our Biodiversity eNewsletter (subscribe below) when the next grant round opens.

Information for rural landholders

Council’s online Interactive Mapping Service may assist you to find out environmental information about your property.

Council has produced a range of booklets on the major environmental issues for five land use types in our region: beef graziers, dairy farmers, orchardists, floodplain croppers and rural ‘lifestyle’ landholders.

The booklets offer ideas for improving land management practices for biodiversity and includes a Farm Health Assessment Tool so that landholders can self-assess if their practices.

We recommend you consult the booklets to gain ideas about how to improve your land management practices. These can also help if and when you wish to apply for grant funding. You can download the booklets from our Rural Landholder Initiative page, pick them up at Council’s Corporate Centre, 43 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah, or ask for them to be mailed to you.

Other professional advice is available from your local Landcare network, Local Land Services agents, Rous County Council (weeds and water) and other government and non-government agencies.

For further information or advice, contact our Extension Officer Kate Steel on 1300 87 83 87.

Annual grants program

The Rural Landholder Initiative is part of Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy (BMS) and is designed to conserve biodiversity hotspots on private land. The program assists and builds the capacity of rural landholders through education and incentives, to enhance and improve biodiversity in our Local Government Area (LGA).

Council will call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from rural landholders across the LGA who are seeking assistance with materials and labour for on-ground works to protect and enhance areas such koala habitat, riverbanks and remnant vegetation.

Assistance provided is up to $5000 for primary works and initial maintenance in the first year, with complex restoration projects eligible for second year funds up to $2500. Sites along floodplain riverbanks can apply for up to $10,000 if works include fencing and off-stream watering.

Rural Landholder Initiative grants are currently closed. Advertisement will be placed in our fortnightly publication Local Matters and in our Biodiversity eNewsletter (subscribe below) when the next grant round opens.

What are the current priorities?

High conservation value areas across the LGA

The concept of high conservation value (HCV) can be applied to species, populations, habitats or communities, or areas of land that support these HCV elements.

The BMS identifies criteria that Council considers must be present to consider an area as high conservation value. These include:

  • Land containing threatened species or populations
  • Key habitat for threatened fauna and flora, e.g. Regent Honeyeater habitat
  • Endangered Ecological Communities, e.g. Swamp Sclerophyll Forest
  • Key habitats that support priority vertebrate assemblages, e.g. Forest Red Gum grassy open forest
  • Land within areas identified as very high priority wildlife corridor
  • Koala habitat
  • Areas of land that support any type of rainforest
  • Old growth forest
  • Native riparian vegetation
  • Wetland and estuarine vegetation including on the floodplains

Full details of HCV and priority species are included in the BMS document and can be discussed with the Environmental Officers at Council. You can also find HCV areas on Council’s online mapping tool.

Map - High Conservation Value Habitat North of Lismore

Map - High Conservation Value Habitat South of Lismore

Map - Key Habitat Corridors North of Lismore

Map - Key Habitat Corridors South of Lismore

Map - Koala Habitat North of Lismore

Map - Koala Habitat South of Lismore

Restoration on the floodplain: Identify priority riparian areas and rehabilitate

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 (up to $10,000 over two years).

Map - Lismore Floodplain Landscapes

Project Ideas

Applicants are advised to consult the recently released Rural Landholder Initiative education booklets for ideas on land management practices that relate to improving and conserving biodiversity across our landscapes and waterways. The booklets relate to healthy landscapes and waterways, as well as four key industries operating in our region.

Potential applicants are advised to consult with qualified bush regenerators, Landcare professionals, Council staff, Local Land Services, Rous County Council (weeds and water) and government agents about project planning, action plans and best practice techniques.

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


Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the eligibility criteria detailed in the Rural Landholder Initiative Guidelines for Funding.

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.

Examples of simple project plans are available in our Educational Resources, Booklets and Planning Tools section.


Educational resources, booklets and planning tools for landholders

Lismore City Council has a range of educational resources, booklets and planning tools to help landholders manage their property and plan biodiversity actions or on-ground works.

We encouragers landholders to download and use these resources, examples and templates to help you manage your property and protect our natural environment.


Farm Health Assessment Tool 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:

Book 2: Beef grazing and dairying

Book 3: Macadamias and other orchards

Book 4: Floodplain cropping


Property planning

Below is a range of examples and templates for property and site action planning. These can help landholders understand how to structure a plan that will map what assets and issues you have and help you improve your property over time with key milestones, actions and timelines.

Property Planning - the Big Picture

Template - Site Action Plan

Template - Site Action Plan (Simple One Pager)

Template - Property and Site Action Plan

Site Action Plan Guidelines (Bush Futures)

Example - Farm Plan (production based)

Example - Maintenance Plan

Example - Draft Roseberry Creek Quarry Plan

Fact Sheet - Easy Steps Towards a Property Plan

Fact Sheet - Governing Policy in Rural Areas (Byron Shire Council)

Native Vegetation Plantings (RRCC)

Revegetation Guide for Subtropical Forest

Revegetating Streams in the Richmond Catchment - a Guide to Species and Planting Methods


If you wish to provide feedback about any of our resources, please email us at council@lismore.nsw.gov.au

Field Days and Events

Free Rural Landholder Initiative 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 is holding the following free field days in 2018:


Vine Weeds and Healthy Creeks at Jiggi (Biological Controls)

Saturday, 21 April, 9am–2pm

Landholders battling to manage vine weeds in bushlands and creeks are invited to this event.

The day will feature options available for integrated management of weeds, including biological controls for cat’s claw creeper, Madeira vine, and other environmental weeds on a local cattle property.

Practical demonstrations with the safe use of chemicals in the riparian zone will be provided.

Learn how to make a self-assessment of the health of your creek and access help to plan your own restoration project. Includes creek bank and paddock walk.


Fire & Biodiversity Forum at Nimbin

Friday, 1 June, 10am–2.30pm

Lismore City Council in collaboration with Northern River Fire and Biodiversity Consortium invite interested individuals from Nimbin and surrounding rural communities to join fire ecologists and planners at a forum aimed at improving understanding of on-ground fire management practices.

Targeted information and local examples will assist landholders to develop knowledge about:

  • What is ‘Ecological Fire’
  • Fire dependency versus fire sensitivity of habitats and the impacts of too little fire versus too much
  • Understanding and managing the fire-related needs of local flora and fauna
  • The rules of burning – ecological and human
  • How to integrate hazard reduction planning, community safety and cultural practices interest with plans for ecological burning
  • Steps to gaining approval and getting a burn done
  • Where to go to get help or learn more

Held at Nimbin Town Hall – please RSVP by Friday, 25 May.

Planning your Restoration Project Field Day

Friday, 13 July, 9am–2pm

Rural landholders who are new to the land often inherit old problems that need managing alongside inherent site risks. This day will help you identify priorities and limitations on your own property and plan management actions to achieve long and short-term goals.

Using this property as a case study, experts from a range of organisations will discuss how a planned approach can support sustainable projects, whether that is alternative land uses, primary production, weed control or improving biodiversity. Landholders looking for practical help from a range of local experts will find this a useful event.

Numbers are limited and RSVPs essential by 20 June.


Healthy Farms and Productive Macadamias

Friday, 26 October, 9am–2pm

The next Rural Landholder Initiative free field day is coming up on Friday, 26 October in Tregeagle.

Healthy Farms and Productive Macadamias will focus on the economic benefits to macadamia production through management for beneficial insects and other native species that function as pest predators.

Growers will be shown practical ways to improve the habitat requirements for such species and local work investigating the value of native bees to production will be showcased. This event will interest orchardists keen to explore natural ways to control pests whilst seeking increased nut-in-shell production, improving orchard value and integrating responsible orchard management practices.

To RSVP for any of the field days, phone us on 1300 87 83 87.


Below is a series of short videos on some of the field days held in 2016 that highlight a range of 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: Boarharbour Field Day – Grazing and Biodiversity in our Water Catchments

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/