The PHCC’s Greening Farms project is about greening the Peel-Harvey landscape for farming, fodder and fauna and in many cases this includes protecting and enhancing wetlands.
While low lying, wetland areas can provide good fodder for stock and provide green feed during the summer feed gap, they also provide unique habitats for many of our native fauna, including birds, fishes, reptiles and aquatic invertebrates. Increasingly farmers are seeing vegetated wetlands as an important refuge for these animals and an important part of their agricultural system. On-farm native vegetation is increasingly recognised as providing productive benefits like shelter from extreme weather conditions and habitat for beneficial animals like insectivorous birds, as well as promoting a sense of place and connection to the farm.
Myalup beef farmer David Cooling is one farmer who sees the wetland on his property, Fresh Tracks Farm, as an important part of its future. “I grew up as a child with a wetland that was not cleared, so had many Davey Crocket days out on the wetland and I’d love for my grandchildren to be able to do the same” reflects David.
“It was cleared back probably in the 60’s and 70’s, primarily grazing for dairy cattle” he says, “but, I’ve always wanted to try and return it to something more of the original wetland. So when my daughter and son-in-law got interested, we decided that we’d build a house for them down here and one of the tasks I’ve challenged them with is to restore the wetland.”
The wetland is home to birds including black swans, spoon-bills, cormorants, black ducks and square-tailed kites. Snakes and king skinks live there too, as well as turtles and many freshwater aquatic invertebrates, which are essential to the food web underpinning the lake’s health.
Through the PHCC’s Greening Farms project, David and his family have received a grant to help them install stock-proof fencing around their nine hectare wetland. “The grant that we received has allowed us to make a good start. It’ll put good secure fencing all the way around and allow us to do some more significant planting this coming winter.”
With World Wetland Day recently celebrated on 2nd February, there’s no better time for this project to be going ahead. The fencing work at Fresh Tracks Farm is a great example of farmers acting local and thinking global by protecting their wetlands for the future.
“We’re very interested to find out more about the World Wetlands Day, and if we can be part of it and contribute, that’d be wonderful,” explained David to PHCC’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Mick Davis on a recent site visit.
With more wetlands and waterways being fenced every year through the Greening Farms project, PHCC is proud to be working with local farmers to protect and enhance our region’s unique wetlands, while working to enhance sustainable farming outcomes across the region.
To find out more about the Greening Farms project contact Mick Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 6369 8800 for more information.
This project is supported by PHCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program