Workshops to slowdown the water flow

Workshops to slowdown the water flow

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Located in New South Wales Southern Tablelands, Westview Farm is one of 20 farms taking part in The Mulloon Institute's rehydration initiative.

Located in New South Wales Southern Tablelands, Westview Farm is one of 20 farms taking part in The Mulloon Institute's rehydration initiative.

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"We look at all sorts of ways to manage overland flow & that might be with contours in the landscape..."

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A RECIPIENT of the State government's Community Stewardship Grants, The Mulloon Institute's (TMI) rehydration project will have the Muresk Institute as one of its research sites.

The project aims to plan and implement landscape rehydration to restore landscape function on four Western Australian properties.

The project aims to introduce landscape rehydration through workshops and implement and modify the concepts to suit local landscapes.

TMI chief executive Carolyn Hall said the whole idea of landscape rehydration was slowing down water flow and holding it in the landscape.

"We look at all sorts of ways to manage overland flow and that might be with contours in the landscape, with the management of the vegetation, putting leaky weirs in which are really living in stream structures on valley floors," Ms Hall said.

"There's a range of methods that we use, depending on the management outcomes that we're trying to achieve."

When preparing its proposal for the Community Stewardship Grants earlier this year, TMI signed a memorandum of understanding with the Muresk Institute, selecting the institute as one of the project's locations.

"We see our partnership with Muresk as a chance to amplify what we're doing because Muresk will be able to share our research on a much wider basis - enabling teachers, students and local farmers and property owners to learn about what we do," Ms Hall said.

Expected to run for three years, in the first year TMI will fly in landscape planners from the Eastern States to share their experiences and what the project might look like in WA.

Workshops will be held at every stage of the project so that interested landowners and farmers can gain a greater understanding of the landscape rehydration principles.

"We want to help people understand the potential that this approach has for restoring agricultural productivity and its benefits to the natural environment and biodiversity," Ms Hall said.

TMI will go through a selection process to determine the other three locations.

"We will choose properties that give us the opportunity for the best demonstration," Ms Hall said.

Muresk Institute farm manager Steve Wainwright said the real win for Muresk was not only getting landscape rehydration on site, but more significantly being able to develop a WA-specific training package.

"Because we are owned and operated by the State government now, the university partners that come in are external so we rely on those types of relationships to get students at postgraduate level," Mr Wainwright said.

"The Diploma of Agriculture and Associate degree students will be exposed to the project but, from a research point of view, we will open the doors for potential postgraduate students to come along - it's a missed opportunity otherwise."

Mr Wainwright said the project was already garnering interest from local farmers and farming groups.

"I think we need demonstration to see how these principles work in our agricultural system in WA," he said.

"It's absolutely imperative that we are involved in the demonstration of the project, to say that 'yes, principles work from this concept, or perhaps other principles don't work in this landscape'.

"The obligation of training providers is to show the next generation of agriculturalists new techniques and things that aren't just the status quo.

"We need to be looking at ways to be better and more sustainable."

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