The Challenge

As the impacts of a changing climate become more and more intense it is necessary for land managers to adapt their practices, however, it can be difficult to know how to read the land under extreme conditions and to feel empowered to be proactive in the face of drought.

Soil erosion is a huge challenge facing graziers in Western NSW. Heavy rainfall after long periods of dry can do more harm than good with high volumes of water moving at speed eroding creek banks, sweeping away top soils and flowing too quickly to allow penetration into the earth. Earth works to restore creek lines, prevent gully erosion and maintain catchment areas are expensive and time consuming, without the requisite knowledge and understanding of water movement across a landscape there are many barriers to success.

The Solution

Recognising the need for collective consciousness around landscape types and water movement across those landscapes, Western Landcare NSW held a Geomorphology Short Course. The 2.5 day course was held in partnership with Western Local Land Services as an initiative to grow landholder understanding of their own landscapes and develop action plans to improve water movement. This initial course was run as a pilot to demonstrate the impacts of the course in order to attract future funding for ongoing courses across Western NSW.

The course attracted 10 participants from a variety of stations as well as Landcare staff, with everyone able to build their own knowledge base in order to improve their own practice as well as inform others of what they had learned.

The Impact

The success of this first Geomorphology Short Course formed the basis for future funding which has now allowed for a continuation of these courses across the region, ensuring that the same capacity is built in a variety of landscape settings. As a result of the first course works are already being undertaken by participating landholders to slow water flow along creeks, strengthen creek banks, especially at the exit of culverts, and maximise catchment flows all as a result of attending the course and building an understanding of water movement specific to their relative properties.

With discussions around the training continuing in other settings, more interest in geomorphology and other areas of ecological and landscape management has been cultivated.

For more information and PDF download please visit: https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/Western_landcare/geomorphology-in-the-arid-rangelands/

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