The tides are turning and in an effort to make our rivers clean and healthy, two groups are being galvanised into action.
Both the North Coast Local Land Services and Richmond Rivers Rescue are launching projects to restore the Richmond/Wilsons waterways.
With funding provided by the NSW Government’s Catchment Action program, North Coast Local Land Services is working with dairy farmers to better manage dairy effluent, a project that will have positive effects on the health of the Richmond catchment.
Dairy effluent contains considerable amounts of nutrients, in particular nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. If not utilised effectively, dairy effluent can lead to excessive soil nutrient build up in some areas of the farm which can cause unsafe grazing areas and potentially leach into environmentally sensitive areas and waterways.
The 2019 Dairy Effluent Project focuses on dairy farms located in the Richmond River catchment and builds on previous North Coast Local Land Services investment which supported ten dairy farmers in the Richmond catchment to undertake a dairy effluent system review and audit.
The continuation of the project is providing incentives to seven dairy farmers to install upgrades to existing effluent systems that will improve effluent re-use on farm. The targeted grants will be offered to farmers who have an Effluent System Review developed by an Accredited Dairy Effluent System Designer.
North Coast Local Land Services project manager, Nathan Jennings says that north coast dairy farmers are doing a very good job of on-farm nutrient management with many having undertaken accredited programs such as Fert$mart.
‘Dairy farmers already have very detailed soil nutrient management plans which are reviewed annually as part of enterprise operations,’ says Jennings. ‘This project helps improve the ability for farmers to include the use of effluent as a nutrient source within their existing fertiliser and nutrient management programs.
‘The project aims to deliver improved effluent management over nearly 100 hectares through a range of measures that, depending on the individual farm, may include actions such as trafficable solids traps, redesigned concrete drains and walkways, gravel and rock traps, direct application effluent pumps and dilution valves.” Nathan said.
North Coast Local Land Services General Manager, Louise Orr, says that through successful applications to the NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW funding, they will be undertaking this project that will increase on-farm soil health and adoption of soil conservation practices in three key agricultural industries, one of which is the dairy industry.
‘Additionally, we are implementing two other projects that will improve riparian health in the Clarence and Macleay rivers and protect two North Coast biodiversity hotspots.
‘We are working hard on building relationships with community groups and other government agencies and our ability to work collaboratively will improve the outcomes of the areas we are working in.’ Louise said.
Richmond Rivers Rescue in conjunction with Rous Water and SCU recently announced plan for a Watershed project.
Richmond Rivers Rescue have also named a date for their Annual General Meeting and NSW Election Candidates Forum. The Annual General Meeting of Richmond Rivers Rescue will be held at the Lismore Workers Club on Thursday February 21.
The meeting will include the RRR business meeting; a river update; details of the Rous Watershed Initiative; NSW Election Candidates forum and Q & A; and collection of nominations for their committee.
Interested members of RRR and the public are welcome to attend to find out more about the latest initiatives to restore the river as well as hear from state election candidates (from 6.30pm) on their respective positions.
If you are keen to do more to save our river, the RRR would like to hear from people interested in serving as office bearers of the committee for the coming year. If you’d like to nominate yourself, or know someone with skills to offer, please complete and contact [email protected] for more information. Registrations for the RRR AGM will be open from 5pm at the Workers Club.
If you would like more information about the Dairy Effluent Project, contact Nathan Jennings on 0437 083 147.