LAND AND WATER
The Land and Water program incorporates the Land and Water themes of Southern Prospects.
Agriculture contributes strongly to the South Coast region’s economy, and primary production is one of the most diverse agricultural sectors in Western Australia. Sustainable farming practices are critical to meeting the changing environmental, social and economic conditions. Farmers are diversifying into a range of business opportunities and production including livestock, poultry, grain, viticulture, horticulture, small crops, farm forestry, orchards and other small scale but highly profitable niche sectors.
Sustainability means something different for every land manager and depends on many factors related to location, topography, land use and climate.
At the farm level, the current focus is on improving soil health and tackling the threats from soil acidity, salinity, water repellence, wind erosion, groundwater issues and to increase soil organic carbon levels. The team are also working on the impact of climate change to farm businesses, feral animal control, water quality and food innovation.
South Coast NRM’s priority areas are soil health, integrated farm planning for natural resource management, adapting to climate change, meeting market demands for provenance, marginal land management, sustainable regional fisheries management, critical fencing projects to restore and protect natural resources and biodiversity, and increasing best practice management, technical knowledge and skills of all land managers.
REGIONAL AGRICULTURAL LANDCARE FACILITATORS
South Coast NRM is the regional hub for transferring sustainable agriculture knowledge and experience to the community. We are working with landholders to increase the awareness and adoption of best practice land management to protect and enhance our region’s soils, biodiversity and vegetation.
Our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators (RALF) are helping agricultural enterprises increase the quality of their land, while becoming more agile in responding to challenges from climate change and market fluctuations. They promote Landcare principles to assist farmers to incorporate ecosystem services into their production strategies to increase profitability, improve soil health and to preserve biodiversity.
RALF staff work one-on-one with farmers on issues specific to their land and activity and also provide a range of regional engagement events including workshops, on-farm demonstrations, field days and group learning opportunities. Their knowledge and experience are also assisting farmers in niche agricultural markets and meeting the increasing demands for proof of the sustainable production of high quality, safe agricultural products.
To find out more about our RALFs and how to get in touch, visit SOUTHERN SOILS
Healthy waterways are critically important to sustaining a healthy environment. South Coast rivers, estuaries, wetlands and water resources are recognised as precious assets and it is important that they are maintained, protected and restored.
The region includes 107 rivers and tributaries, 33 estuaries and inlets and over 300 conservation category wetlands. They are extremely significant features of the region and are important to ecological, social and economic values for the community, supporting recreation, tourism, fishing and other regional industries. They provide essential ecological services and are used extensively by agriculture and provide critical water supplies, including drinking water for the community.
South Coast NRM is working to overcome threats to the health and condition of the waterways in the region which include land clearing, increased salinity, erosion, sedimentation and nutrient enrichment. Loss of riparian (riverbank) vegetation, pollution from various land uses, over extraction and physical alteration of systems and floodplains are also impacting water quality and availability. Climate change modelling indicates there could be increased sediment movement and erratic river flows as well as heightened upstream salt wedges, de-oxygenation events, algal blooms and fish deaths and reductions in natural openings to the ocean.
South Coast NRM has a two-pronged approach to water and wetland management across the region to secure safe, clean and reliable water resources for current and future generations. This includes improving farm productivity, reducing off site impacts and creating long term legacy through innovation in surface water management in the south west and south coast of WA, and supporting our international responsibilities to protecting wetlands of international importance through rehabilitation, restoration and reducing threats to the ecological character of the Lake Warden and Lake Gore RAMSAR listed wetlands.