Working with landholders in our water supply catchments
MidCoast Water currently has catchment management programs operating in the Manning River Catchment upstream of our Bootawa off take, Barrington River upstream of our Gloucester offtake and in the Crawford River Catchment near Bulahdelah. These programs include working with private landholders on projects which are closely linked to water quality at our river offtake locations. Projects such as off stream watering systems, riparian fencing and dairy effluent management systems are examples of the types of activities undertaken.
Do you have property in the Manning River Catchment and think that you could make improvements to the water cycle or stream management? See below for an explanation and contact us to find out how you may be able to partner with MidCoast Water.
An effective water cycle
When we talk about the water cycle we talk about how water flows through the landscape. A water cycle which is functioning effectively includes soils which hold water for extended periods without being boggy; and minimal surface runoff, which in turn means less erosion and less nutrients being transported into waterways. It will benefit downstream water users and the environment in terms of more reliable stream flows and cleaner water; but it will also have clear benefits to your farm's productivity as you retain your precious top soil and nutrients, and are less at the mercy of the weather. Activities such as changing grazing management to promote perennial grass species and altering fertiliser regimes to become soil microbe friendly have proven successful for other landholders.
Symptoms of an ineffective water cycle:
- Limited plant growth
- Sheet and gully erosion
- Capped, hard soil
- Soil which dries out very quickly after rain or irrigation
- Water logged soil on land which is not a natural wetland
Good stream management
How we manage the water's edge can be considered the last line of defence in protecting water quality. A healthy riparian ecosystem (plants and animals living on the bank) provides services such as bank stabilisation, water filtration and nutrient cycling. The benefits for your farm include having a safe drinking water supply for your family and animals, minimising land lost from floods, and protection of your swimming and fishing spots. Activities which encourage the establishment of native riparian vegetation, including trees and shrubs, is recommended. This includes things like stock proof fencing, off stream watering troughs, stabilising river crossings, and planting.
Symptoms of poor stream management:
- Stream bed erosion
- Stream bank erosion at a rate outside what can naturally be expected for that stream type
- Lack of riparian vegetation
- Bare soil and pugging
- Silting up of pools
- Excessive algal growth
If you can see any of these symptoms of an ineffective water cycle or poor stream management on your property in the Manning Catchment, you might be eligible for assistance on a project which will benefit downstream water users, the environment, and your farm.
Who else can I contact?
There are many organisations who also play a part in catchment management in our area. They include:
Hunter Local Land Services
Contact: Lower North Coast office, 98 Victoria St Taree, 6551 8994
Contact: Manning Landcare or Karuah Great Lakes Landcare
Taree - Administration Centre, 2 Pulteney St Taree, 6592 5399
Forster - Breese Parade Forster, 6591 7222
Gloucester - 89 King St Gloucester, 6538 5250