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Farm incentives to protect Mallee threatened species

Southern Mallee farmers are being offered financial and practical help to improve habitat on their properties and protect local threatened and endangered species.

Farm incentives to protect Mallee threatened species

Regent Parrot a threatened species

Applications are now open for the 2015-16 Southern Mallee Revegetation Program and the Mallee Biodiversity Incentive Program.

Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chair Sharyon Peart said the programs assist farmers with revegetation works, fencing and weed control to protect on-farm wildlife habitat.

“We have offered similar programs in the past two years and get terrific support from farmers because, in a lot of cases, it’s assistance for work they would like to do themselves,” Ms Peart said.

“They really enjoy the benefits to the landscape and to the local native wildlife that come with revegetation and protecting remnant vegetation.

“The ability to access financial and practical support is often just the added incentive that’s needed to get started.”

The programs offer funding for two target areas – Wathe target area, on the eastern fringe of Wyperfeld National Park and the Avoca target area, which is in the south eastern Mallee.

The Wathe target area incorporates farmland around Wyperfeld National Park, the Wathe and Paradise Flora and Fauna Reserves and the Patchewollock State Forest.

The Avoca target area incorporates 378,700 hectares of predominantly dryland farming area around Birchip, Sea Lake, Lake Tyrrell, Wahpool, Timboram and the Lalbert, Tyrrell and Dunmunkle Creek Systems.

The projects are supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

Ms Peart said the initiatives aimed to protect threated flora, fauna and vegetation communities listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“The Wathe area is one of the breeding and feeding grounds for the Mallee Fowl and it’s also a feeding area for the Regent Parrot, which migrates in to feed on local grass seeds and herbaceous plants,” Ms Peart said.

“In the Avoca area, we are wanting to protect more of the local Buloke Woodlands and provide additional habitat for the Plains Wanderer. There are also two vulnerable local plant species we are working to protect – the perennial shrub Chariot Wheel and the Slender Darling Pea.”

Ms Peart said the revegetation projects would make important progress towards improving links between existing patches of vegetation.

“Most of the land in the areas has been cleared for agriculture, but there are significant patches of remnant vegetation on roadsides, on private land and in public reserves,” Ms Peart said.

“Under the revegetation program we form a partnership with the farmers, where the CMA provides tube stock and seed for plantings or direct seeding and do revegetation plantings, while the landholders’ input is site preparation, such as weed control, ripping and watering.”

“A subsidy is also available for the installation of fencing to protect the revegetated area.

“The Biodiversity Incentive Program offers assistance for farmers in the target areas to undertake on-ground works such as environmental Weeds of National Significance control and stock exclusion fencing to protect vegetation as well as funding for habitat assessments.”

Applications for the 2015-16 Mallee Biodiversity Incentive Program and the 2015-16 Revegetation Program close on September 11, 2015. Applications must be made by lodging an expression of interest form.

Further information is available by contacting Mallee CMA Project Officer Cameron Flowers on 0427 509 663.

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