Landcare celebrates its true champions

Upper Snowy Landcare Champions Robin and Phil Daley, Angel John Gallard (Snowy River Alliance), Linda and Chris Millington, Stuart and Jan Reid.LOCAL landholders who have made outstanding contributions to natural resource management in the catchment were honoured at a Landcare dinner hosted by the Upper Snowy Landcare Committee.

Adrian Begg, Chair of South East Landcare, which covers the Southern Rivers region, presented four “Champions of the Catchment” awards to people who, through innovation, persistence and a wilingness to assist others that share the similar land management problems, have improved the condition of natural resources in the Upper Snowy Catchment.

A Champions award was presented to Phil and Robin Daley for their outstanding work in the control of grassy weeds on their property as well as the work that Phil has done in sharing his techniques at weed field days run by the Berridale Rocky Plain and Snowy River Landcare Group.

Not only have the Daleys been able to transform their property from a weed and rabbit haven, they have also been able to develop new techniques to address the emerging African Lovegrass problem on their property.

Stuart and Jan Reid of “Murlingbung” received an award for their work in taking the principles of sustainable grazing management developed elsewhere and translating them to the harsh reality of grazing on the Monaro.

Not only have the Reids invested in the development of fencing and water infrastructure on their property to support the system of cell grazing on their property but, over the last 20 years, they have persisted, often through trial and error, to develop a system of grazing

rotation that is suited to the long cold winters and unpredictable rainfall on the Monaro.

Chris and Linda Millington of “Goldfields”, Dalgety have battled against the odds of fluctuating rainfall and heavy insect attack in their endevours to rehabilitate their land along the banks of the Snowy River.

As with many people who live along the Snowy, although the Millingtons both work full time, they have made the planting of trees and the management of weeds in their riparian zone (and also on the rest of their property) a priority.

With funding from the snowy Banks program managed by the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, the Millingtons have been able to fence of sections of the River, install off-stream stock watering points and use irrigation systems to water new plantings of trees and shrubs along the river banks.

The final award of the night went to the Snowy River Alliance group who have been at the forefront of the campaign for the restoration of environmental flows to the Snowy River since the early 1990s.

Through ongoing hard work, this small group of individuals, which includes people from Dalgety through to Marlo, have convinced politicians of all persuasions of the need for water to be returned to the Snowy River to restore the health of the river. Their persistence has been rewarded with the study completed by the expert panel of scientist into the health of the river and the subsequent legislation of environmental flows for the river.

The Champions of the Catchment awards started with an idea by John Carter of Far South East Landcare, who wanted an opportunity for the efforts, perseverance and the inspiration provided by local Landcarers to be recognised by their peers. Often what is important in the management of natural resources at the local catchment level is not as relevant to the criteria used in judging State or National Landcare awards so these awards are born out of the Landcare ethos of “Local people, Local problems”.

When introducing the Champions awards, Chair of the Upper Snowy Landcare Committee, Vicky Bridgewater said, “These awards are also recognition of partnerships in Landcare that occur at a number of different levels.

“Firstly there is the partnership that occurs at each household and farm level. As everyone would understand, there is a sharing of the decision making, there is a sharing of the work load and there is the support given to each other in the management of the land. Importantly there is also support for each other in the activities off their own property through contributions to community groups such as Landcare and our awards honour these family partnerships” she said.

Mrs Bridgewater described the partnerships the Upper Snowy Landcare groups have with their partners in the management of our natural resources, including the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the Federal Governement Caring for our Country program.

“Tonight and on the bus trip tomorrow, we will see outstanding work that has been done by Landcare with out partners in the management of the Monaro grasslands, work to combat the perennial grassy weeds, which are the greatest threat to the sustainable productivity and biodiversity of our grasslands as well as the efforts that are being made to restore the health and vitality of our rivers”, she said.

Mrs Bridgewater especially commended the partnership with local government, especially Snowy River Shire Council. Mrs Bridgewater said,

“The contribution of the Council vegetation management staff to the planning of our weed control programs and their contribution to our

field days has been invaluale.”

Following the awards dinner on the Friday night, there was a bus tour to the properties of the award recipients. Amongest attendees on the bus tour were Landcare members from the whole of the South East landcare region, which stretches from Wollongong to Eden and up to the Snowy Mountains.

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