Reconnecting in more ways than one
Holdings is a 700 acre beef cattle enterprise situated 20km south of Braidwood. The current land owner and manager, Adrian Cox, had a country upbringing, but forged a career in the city. When it came time to reconnect with the land he found a property he couldn't pass up, now known as Harcross Holdings.
The most striking resource on the property is Mountain Creek and its tributaries, which reach out to all corners of the property. Mountain Creek runs through the middle of the property and has been a direct source of water for livestock since farming began in the 1850s. Adrian could see the impacts this was having on the creek banks and native vegetation and wanted to do something to protect the creek without losing the water amenity.
Adrian discovered that help was at hand through the South East Local Land Services, and requested assistance through the Rural Landscapes Program (RLP). The RLP can provide advice, and funding to landholders in Sydney drinking catchments, to help with grazing management, erosion control, riparian protection and revegetation. After a few discussions and a few site visits, a project was developed with a range of benefits to the land and the landholder.
With the protection of 32 ha of riparian area (5 km in total length) at its core, the project was subsequently able to:
- Facilitate improved grazing management through the creation of eight paddocks where there were three. This allowed improved recovery of pastures, maintenance of groundcover and ease of stock movements.
- Provide protection for and connectivity between different vegetation communities for the benefits of biodiversity. Including the protection of 12.3 ha of endangered ecological community.
- Improve water quality for all downstream users by removing the pressure that congregating livestock place on creek banks and riparian vegetation.
- Provide stock shelter and wildlife connectivity by planting 1,000 extra native trees and shrubs away from the riparian zones.
- Provide stock water through an engineered water reticulation system comprising of five troughs, solar pump, header tank and piping.
- Provide two stable creek crossings made of rocks and logs to reduce sediment movement and the chance of large scale erosion.
Adrian went on to extend the works with another creek crossing, a laneway system, a bull paddock with a trough and a remote monitoring application for the water reticulation system. Adrian has also taken the opportunity to attend Local Land Services workshops on soil health, and recognises the importance of good grazing management for business success. Adrian plans to train in holistic management when a course becomes available.
Funds for this project were made available through the Australian Government and the NSW Government's Catchment Action NSW program.