Landcare, OzFish and local farmers reviewing the newly installed watering system at Rocky Creek.
Landcare, OzFish and local farmers reviewing the newly installed watering system at Rocky Creek.

Why a cow’s trough is Rocky Creek’s best friend

IN ORDER to preserve the health of the Richmond River, community organisations joined forces to ensure the cows don’t have to make it all the way to Rocky Creek to drink.

The idea is that when stock drink from the creek, they damage the native plants that hold the bank.

The eroding soil ends up washing into the creek, making it dirty and turbid, damaging fish gills and also silting up fish habitat.

To remediate that, a watering system of two troughs were installed near the creek, but on a higher part of the cattle property in the Lismore area, so they no longer need to travel down to the creek for their water.

A simple idea, and one that could have a positive impact in the whole river in the long term.

The project is part of an innovative partnership between OzFish Unlimited, Northern Cooperative Meat Company, Lismore Shire Council and Whian Whian Landcare to benefit local cattle production and fish habitat.

Fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited, with support from BCF, funded the project with Lismore City Council’s Landholder Initiative.

OzFish’s director of Habitat Programs, Cassie Price, said new partnerships across industries can bring opportunities for fish and farmers.

“It’s a fantastic outcome, the cattle now have an easily accessible water source in the paddock and the creek, can now recover from years of use by cattle that has caused erosion.”

“The fish habitat has been further assisted by revegetation in the bare areas with natives that will shade and protect the creek in years to come.

Joe Leven from Northern Co-operative Meat Co said the collaboration demonstrates a positive relationship between industry, landholders and natural resource management groups.

“It’s a win-win for the farmer, the cattle and the environment which supports them,” he said. “We have a large percentage of members farming within the Richmond catchment, so we have seized the opportunity to facilitate these projects.”

Rocky Creek is known to be home to Australian bass, firetail gudgeon, and Cox’s gudgeon are found in the waters around Rocky Creek Dam. They share aquatic habitat with saw-shelled turtles, water rats, eastern water dragons, and platypus.

Fencing and revegetation of the creek was also completed in the habitat restoration effort, with Rocky Creek now looking healthier.



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