The Group covers the catchments of the Hodgsons and Horseshoe Creeks, surrounding Tarrawingee and Everton. The Hodgson's and Horseshoe Creeks Landcare Group was formed in 1989.
Concern about salinity was the major reason behind the development of a Landcare group but there was also great concern about weeds, rabbits, erosion and general pasture management. The group quickly built up numbers and many landholders became involved in a range of activities. Although we had an enthusiastic start we were feeling our way at first. When some of our proposed projects received funding, membership continued to increase.
Some of the projects that we have received funding support for:· Salinity control- field days, pasture improvement subsidies, tree planting· Erosion control- assistance with purchase and placement of rock, fencing and treeplanting· Rabbit eradication- organising group 1080 programs, subsidy for dozer ripping of warrens· Weed eradication subsidies for chemicals used· Revegetation for stream health (erosion control and water quality), windbreaks, biodiversity
Achievements have included:· Weeds- estimated 80% reduction of major weeds: Blackberries, Paterson's curse· Rabbits- "90% less rabbits than there were 15 years ago"· Salinity- "Many hectares of salt affected land fenced off and managed more appropriately, many hectares of deep rooted perennial pasture established"· Re-vegetation- "The most noticeable visual difference in the district is the corridors and patches of native trees and shrubs that weren't here 20 years ago."· Biodiversity- "There are a lot more little birds around now than there used to be 15 years ago."· Work on Crown Land- "As a group we have been able to bring more pressure to bear on public land managers, for example, blackberry control along unlicensed creek frontages is now at a manageable level."· Guest speakers on a range of topics to keep us up to date· Pasture improvement- field-days to increase people's awareness, direct drill trials· Training days to up grade member's skills eg. Agricultural Chemical Users Permit (ACUP) course
Awards:· Salinity award- Ron Briggs, 2002· John F Hughes Award 1997, jointly with Burgoigee Landcare Group, for outstanding Pest Plant and Animal Control ( the award consisted of a bronze plaque plus $3000)
SummaryHaving a Landcare group motivates landholders to do more. Organisation of projects by the group helps involve and enthuse people. The Landcare group provides a focal point, it provides some-one to talk to. Funding to offer landholders incentives in the form of reimbursements helps to get on ground action happening. There’s great value in having a co-ordinator to assist us in applying for funding. Its also important to have some-one to visit individual landholders to enthuse and make suggestions about technique for effective works. Not every-one is able to come to all the meetings and field days/demonstrations.Rather than a lot of haphazard individual actions it is much more worthwhile if we are all aiming to achieve the same results.
Purpose of the Group:Our goal is to foster a new generation of land managers able to maintain a viable and practical balance between productivity and environmental concerns.
We will achieve this by supporting group members in the protection of remnant vegetation and the planting of indigenous species to provide shelter for livestock and habitat for native fauna. Our focus is to reduce recharge, maintain fertile soils and high quality water, stabilise streams and continue to improve perennial pastures.
We will do this in the following ways:
· Access funding to enable integrated district wide works · Act as a united, central voice for our district· Be active in political lobbying· Lead by example - by carrying out on-ground works - by being involved in group decision making· Involve the schools· Education and awareness raising in the community· Adopt a fairly direct, pro-active approach in involving others in the community· Encourage others
Meetings:The group meets approximately 10 times a year, organised as needs dictate.A monthly newsletter keeps members informed of the latest information and acts as a meeting notice.
We meet in the Everton Environmental Education Centre, formerly the Everton Upper Primary School. We are proud of this valuable community facility secured from the auctioneer's hammer by a loud community outcry in the late 1990s. The Centre is also used for seminars, meetings and workshops by a range of school groups, Landcare and agricultural organisations in the region. A nearby patch of dryland salinity is a valuable educational site for the identification of salt affected land and the demonstration of techniques to address salinity and to carry out watertable and bore monitoring.
Equipment:Various items of equipment are owned by the group for use by its members. A small fee to cover maintenance costs is charged. Items include: · Spray cart with boom and hand gun · Carpet weed wiper (suitable for dock, rushes, StJohn's wort, thistles), · Hamilton tree planters · Potti putki tree planters · Direct drill seeder (with Baker boots)· 3 point linkage ripper for rabbit warrens, · Trailing carrot bait layer for rabbit poisoning, · Fumigator for rabbit warrens
Information on the area the group covers and works in is available here.