Up to $10,000 for farmers wanting to improve biodiversity in Lismore
LISMORE landowners wanting to improve biodiversity in the region had until 27 October to apply for up to $10,000 for project contributions from the Lismore City Council.
Council's Rurual Landholder Initiative followed a pilot program launched in 2015 that featured 11 projects from mixed orchards to floodplain cropping to biodiversity in water catchments.
Rural Landholder Initiative Extension Officer Kate Steel said funding for Council's Biodiversity Management Scheme was around $100,000 and came partly from a variation to rural rates passed in February.
Eligible projects in 2016 included:
- environmental weed control;
- regeneration and/or revegetation with local native plants;
- fencing to exclude livestock from important areas, such as riverbanks;
- off-stream watering (e.g. drinking troughs);
- stabilising stock crossing points;
- native plantings for erosion stabilisation.
Priorities would be given to projects aimed at regenerating 'High Conservation Value' areas as outlined by Council; management of koala habitats; and restoration of floodplains where land and rivers met.
Most approved projects would receive $5,000 in contributions from Council but up to $10,000 would be available for fencing (for stock exclusion) and off stream watering along Wilsons River downstream of Boatharbour and lower Leycester Creek.
Eligible landowners would have to sign agreements to maintain approved projects and to match any funding received.
Ms Steele said Council would conduct a "random auditing program" to ensure landowners were sticking to their funding commitments but the onus would be on individuals to monitor projects.
"We encourage landholders to work together: talk to your neighbours [about project ideas and maintenance]" she said.
"It's a complex eco-system and individuals working by themselves is difficult."
She said Council used fly-overs to monitor vegetation in the area and liaised with the Richmond River County Council as well as students and professors from the Southern Cross University to test water quality in rivers.
Community and industry groups were not eligible to apply for the grants and projects that were part of development consent conditions would not be considered.