Over seventy pastoralists, Shire employees, earthmoving contractors and others attended a series of Erosion Control Grader workshops held late August and early September throughout WA’s rangelands.
Sponsored and coordinated by Rangelands NRM and delivered by Darryl Hill, a highly respected Landcare specialist and plant operator from Katherine NT, the workshops exposed attendees to practical, alternative approaches to prevent water erosion problems on station roads, tracks and fence lines.
Rangelands NRM Regional Landcare Facilitator (Southern Rangelands) Paul Erkelenz said there was an increasing awareness amongst pastoral land managers that traditional approaches to station track construction and maintenance were leading to unforseen problems.
“In many cases they’re finding that the track itself becomes a watercourse, even after a modest amount of rain,” he said.
“This not only leads to damage to the track itself and increased maintenance costs, but also sees a heap of water and soil eventually ending up in watercourses, instead of staying on country, where it can grow feed and benefit the livestock enterprise.”
The workshops emphasised working with the natural movement of water across the landscape as much as possible and involved participants in practical demonstrations of how to survey and construct simple, relatively inexpensive yet effective diversion banks on station tracks and graded fencelines.
“Pastoralists attending the workshops were very enthusiastic about what they had learnt and a number of individuals indicated that it had provided a practical solution to deal with problems that they’d been worrying about for some time,” Mr Erkelenz said.
“Attendees found the session on surveying particularly useful and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a spike in the sale of dumpy levels and surveyor’s staffs in WA’s rangelands in the coming months!”
Rangelands NRM WA would like to acknowledge the support given by the owners, management and staff of “Myroodah”, “Yerrie”, Peedamulla”, “Winning”, “Carey Downs”, “Austin Downs” and “Ninghan” stations through hosting the workshops and providing the use of a station grader and sites for the practical demonstrations.
A limited number of copies of the supporting notes for the workshop are still available. To secure a copy, or for further information on the workshops, email Paul Erkelenz or phone 0428 393 206.
Image: SAM_2801: Attendees at the “Austin Downs” Erosion Control Grader Workshop listen to Darryl Hill (third from right) describing the finer points of constructing a diversion bank with a station grader on an eroding station track. (Photo: Jason Hastie)