Corndale farmers go for big restoration results

Friday, 19 July

Corndale farmers Jean Marc and Morgane Furio have planted 700 trees on their 50-hectare property as part of a project to restore waterways and improve biodiversity and habitat.

The couple has been operating a grazing and macadamia business for the past 15 years while restoring the property with native forest. They were recently successful in applying for a $7500 Rural Landholder Initiative grant from Lismore City Council to further this restoration.

The Furios had previously fenced off a dam to allow for wetland habitat improvement and they have now moved downstream, fencing off 600m of a tributary that leads into Coopers Creek. They are excluding stock and allowing the rocky waterway to come back to life, planting native trees and waterway plants to assist in the land’s healing.

“We have fenced a 60m wide riparian zone to allow for floods and for proper revegetation of the waterway,” Jean Marc explained.

Morgane and Jean Marc love seeing the land regenerate under their stewardship.

“The cattle were removed from this creek in early 2019 and already we are seeing many natives coming back, like ferns and native grasses. It’s just so good to see,” Morgane said.

Once completed, there will be more than 1200 plants and around 1.2 hectares of restored riparian habitat, improving water quality and habitat for reptiles, mammals, birds and insects.

Jean Marc said his creek is like many in the Lismore area, that were cleared of lowland rainforest for farming and ended up being home to little else except grazing pasture, camphor and privet.

Jean Marc has done his homework and has been careful to plant the right plants in the right place. He studied the land and observed moist and dry areas over a number of years and chose plants accordingly.

Before this latest planting funded by the Rural Landholder Initiative, Jean Marc and Morgane gathered the best advice from a reputable nursery and arranged volunteer labour to help.

“It’s important to put in the preparation so that you do it the best way once,” Jean Marc said.

“The tube stock that are frost sensitive have been protected by sleeves from the harsh Corndale winter. It is not unusual to have frost on the Corndale flat. It is an extra cost to the plantation, but well worth the investment.”

The couple’s restoration is one of 29 projects currently being funded through the Rural Landholder Initiative small grants program. The current program is boosted by a $100,000 grant from the NSW Environmental Trust, enabling additional projects to be supported. Since the project’s inception in 2016, 48 on-ground projects have been completed on private property. Another 25 projects are beginning this month after being selected in an expression of interest process late last year.

These projects address serious environmental and land management issues in our region, such as weed invasion and loss of native species in sensitive areas, koala habitat restoration and fencing cattle out of rivers and creeks.

Since it was launched in 2016, the Rural Landholder Initiative has achieved the following:

  • 26,847 trees planted on over 19.8 hectares (including 3042 targeted koala food trees).
  • 129 hectares of weed control and bushland restoration (including 43 hectares of koala habitat).
  • 8.7km of riparian habitat under restoration.
  • $413,000 public funds matched by landholders’ in-kind efforts.
  • 25 free field days to educate landholders on best-practice techniques for biodiversity conservation.

For more information on the Rural Landholder Initiative or upcoming field days for landholders, visit

Image: Corndale farmer Jean Marc Furio and Lismore City Council Environmental Strategies Officer Angie Brace working on a restoration project as part of the Rural Landholder Initiative.


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