The Barrier Area Rangecare Group is a proactive, social community group aiming to achieve long-term sustainable landscape management by implementing industry-recognised and innovative land management.
The Barrier Area Rangecare Group was established originally in the 1980’s under an initiative to have all ‘bushfire’ groups also conduct themselves as Landcare organisations. It worked under this model for many years. After a hiatus in the late 1990’s, a group of passionate pastoralists reestablished the group in 2004. The focus of the group became an inclusive social model and as such BARG was founded with the belief that we did not have to fit into a geographic area with boundaries, but rather be a supportive organisation with an open door policy for like minded land managers of the far west.
BARG grew rapidly and has had a consistent membership for many years. Membership is over 50 properties which covers an area of just over 2 million Hectares. BARG properties are situated North of Broken Hill, West of White Cliffs and South of Tibooburra with the South Australian border the furthermost Western boundary. Membership covers many different land types of the Rangelands and the enterprises are diverse. The area consists predominantly of large scale rangelands grazing enterprises on predominantly open scrubland.
Vertebrate pest incursions in the area include wild dogs, foxes, pigs, cats and rabbits. The area also supports habitat for rare and / or endangered species including yellow footed rock wallaby, dusky hopping mouse, bat tailed gekko and striped faced dunnart.
After 2004, BARG initially focused on group funding opportunities: water infrastructure and goat traps were established across the region beginning in 2005 with funding from Western Catchment Management Authority (CMA) to build 21 goat traps across 10 properties. In 2006, BARG was successful in having their first round of Invasive Native Scrub (INS) control work funded.
Training has been another important element within the group. Members have had access to camera training, ‘Grazing Best Practice’ mapping, ‘Phoenix’ mapping, ’Planning to Profit’, Erosion control, pest control and Tactical Grazing training. ‘Landscape Function Analysis’ workshops have also been held.
In 2008, BARG became involved in an innovative University of NSW program called FATE (Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems). This was a plan to generate greater economic returns for landholders and more flexible management of Total Grazing Pressure. The aim was to allow harvesting of kangaroos across property boundaries. Members continue to be interested in creating a more sustainable kangaroo management system.
In 2012, BARG created its first Vertebrate Pest Management Plan. In 2013 a survey of members was undertaken. This included information on what people thought was their greatest pest threat and impacts. Of the 24 respondents, half felt that wild dogs were their greatest concern and 9 reported stock losses, sightings, unusual stock behaviour, production and biodiversity impacts. Pigs were the greatest perceived threat related to habitat damage, stock losses and water quality.
In the last few years, BARG has become a vehicle for pest control on a large scale. In 2011 – 2012 the CMA “Localised Pest Control Project’ enabled 10 properties to build pig traps. This was followed up by the Western Landcare Pest Control Program of 2014 / 2015 which supplied 60 pig traps and 35 cat traps to 20 further properties.
Large scale 1080 baiting programs for wild dogs have become the norm. BARG members work closely with LLS Western to implement ground and air baiting programs in Autumn and Spring. Our members have been baiting together in smaller ‘clusters’ of properties since 2013.