“Accidental” Landcare project takes root

Story and photos contributed

Uncle Lloyd Hood from GLaWAC welcomes Gippsland Intrepid Landcarers and others to country at the recent planting day in Newry.

A soon to be constructed irrigation pipeline around Newry has seen a number of local landholders get to work on planting native trees along the Newry Creek.

The renewing Newry Creek Project funded by the State Government’s Victorian Landcare Grants is a ‘happy accidental outcome’ of the work being done around the pipeline construction where landholders have put their hands up to be part of an initiative to do revegetation work along their sections of the Newry Creek.

Four farm businesses took the opportunity that arose at the same time as updating their Whole Farm Plans (WFP) as a part of the irrigation upgrade being managed by Southern Rural Water.

A Whole Farm Plan allows a farm business to take an overview of how they use their land, including irrigation points, shelter belts and redundant land and design better systems to maximise their potential.

“It’s been fantastic to see just how much the Newry farming community care about their creek. Many locals have seen this farm planning process as an opportunity to set aside some land to protect the creek and improve water quality, while also providing valuable shade and shelter for stock” said Project Officer with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Elsa Burnell.

It is hoped that around five hectares of Newry Creek will be fenced and planted out

The WGCMA is working with the Maffra and Districts Landcare Network (MDLN), to assist the farm businesses sharing the costs of tube stock, site preparation and fencing where needed.

A community planting day run as partnership between MDLN, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority Gippsland Intrepid Landcare held on the farm of Megan and Nathan Grumley saw more than 1500 plants go into the ground around a meander in the Newry Creek.

“In going through the Whole Farm Plan, we realised that to get around this horseshoe shaped block of land accessible and really productive might just be more trouble than it was worth,” said Nathan.

“In the end and with the assistance of Landcare and the CMA we decided it was a better use of time and energy to plant it out. We’re looking forward to it emerging over the next few years and giving the landscape along the Creek a bit of a kick along,” concluded Nathan.

The community planting day also saw representatives of the Traditional Owners, the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) give a short presentation of the importance of the area in indigenous culture.

“We know that the creeks and rivers were key to the rich existence of the Gunaikurnai people,” said Maffra and Districts Landcare Facilitator Carmen Lee.

“Having Elders Lloyd Hood and Nicky Moffatt spell out the importance of the landscape and conduct a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country was a meaningful way to start our planting activities along the creek. It really added to the experience of the Grumley family and the 25 volunteers who attended the planting day,” concluded Carmen.

More work is continuing on the Grumley site as well as on three other sites around the Newry Creek.

Future community planting days will be advertised though local press and via the social media channels of both the Maffra and Districts Landcare Network and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

Individuals interested in getting involved in Landcare in the Maffra area can phone Carmen Lee on 0457 786 582.


Some of the plantings at the Grumley property in Newry

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