Grader workshops: spreading the word about spreading the water

News article |

Using a grader is all about the ‘angle of your dangle’ and ‘how you hold your tongue’ according to soil doctor Col Stanton who delivered two more best practice soil conservation and grader workshops in March.

Posted 21 April 2017.

Thirteen people attended the workshops at Mount Lyndhurst and Roxby Downs Stations including representatives from Mount Lyndhurst, Mundowdna, North Moolooloo, Pernatty, and Mt Freeling Stations, Roxby Downs, Bon Bon and Edeowie Stations.

Since 2015, 13 workshops have rolled out across the SA Arid Lands and 83 participants including representatives of 44 properties have been introduced to the major cause of erosion – humans and the humble grader. They have seen examples of where poor grading practices have led to the interference of natural water flows across the landscape and resultant channelling, gullying and starved vegetation.

They have been encouraged to ‘read’ the landscape, to consider which way the ground is sloping and where the water is flowing, and they have learned practical skills in track design and maintenance, drain location and design, grading techniques and maintenance, and where interventions might be needed to fix existing erosion problems.

It’s clear that these workshops have been resoundingly successful and Col’s relaxed, humorous and interactive style is appreciated.

For one landholder at the Mount Lyndhurst workshop it was the third time he had attended; others attended for a second time bringing family or staff.

Participants also reported the workshop had improved their ability to “read the land”, consider “how to fix mistakes of the past”, and “learn what not to do”, and enhanced their knowledge of things like pond banking construction, drainage, and soil erosion control and repairs.

People have also fed back some broader comments:

I felt a lot more comfortable about grading after the workshop than what I did at the start!

Number 1 priority is to try to reinstate the natural flow of water

Col is an excellent instructor; he willing shared his considerable knowledge in a friendly and constructive manner and with an amusing sense of humour.

Thanks to all the landholders who have hosted the workshops, contributed machinery and catering, and their willingness to share erosion issues affecting their properties.

A workshop planned for Innamincka will be rescheduled in the coming months and stay tuned for more workshops in 2018.

The workshops are delivered on behalf of the SA Arid Lands NRM Board with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Lisa Stevens, Regional Landcare Facilitator

Copies of Water your landscape, not your roads: best practice road and track management are available online or on DVD; contact Lisa Stevens, Regional Landcare Facilitator.

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