River improvements expected to flow on
Dianne and Graeme Johnson have committed to improving a 15 kilometre stretch of the Wakefield River that runs through their Mintaro property and hope the benefits will eventually flow on to other landholders in the region.
As part of the Four Catchments initiative, delivered by Natural Resources Northern and Yorke, the Johnsons will fence off part of their 2000 hectare Martindale Farm and focus on weed control, revegetation and regeneration along the stretch of river.
Dianne says while some steps had already been taken in fencing off areas of the property before she and Graeme bought the property three years ago, being involved in the Four Catchments initiative is another step in improving the sustainability of the farm.
"We've already propagated and planted about 2000 trees on the property since we came here and we thought we'd like to fence off the creek and plant it out to improve the biodiversity," she says.
"We have a lot of wildlife there so it will provide protection for them and for our sheep as well."
Dianne says she expects the benefits of improving the biodiversity along the 15km stretch of river will far outweigh any area lost to production on the sheep and cropping property.
"About 100ha will come out of our production but we'll get that back in increased shelter, as well as it slowing down some of the wind that comes through and that will help increase productivity of the remaining land," she says.
Dianne says she also expects an increase in "beneficial bugs and birds" which will assist water quality downstream.
"Native fish as well as turtles, yabbies and shrimps have been found in the Wakefield River that runs through our property and we hope this work will improve the water quality for them too," she says.
"We're excited to be part of this project, and being near the head of the Wakefield River we are hopeful that it will assist downstream landholders too."
The Four Catchment initiative takes in the Wakefield, Broughton, Willochra and Light Catchments across the Northern and Yorke region and is funded by the Australian Government
Project works include revegetation, weed management and soil protection across 5040ha in priority stretches of the four catchment areas.
For more information or to find out how you can get involved, contact Natural Resources Northern and Yorke water officer Jennifer Munro on 0429 362 008.