A Gascoyne Junction pastoral business has been using innovative approaches in the construction and use of envirorolls to rehabilitate bare areas on their property.
Jodie McTaggart from Bidgemia Station said the use of alternative materials and techniques had greatly streamlined the process of constructing and installing the rolls.
“We’ve been considering using envirorolls to rehabilitate some scalded areas for a few years now,” she said.
“But like everywhere else, labour availability is a big limitation and so we needed to make sure that they were as easy to make, transport and install as possible.”
Envirorolls are a loose, wire netting roll, often packed with vegetation or other biodegradable materials that are used to trap soil, moisture, seed and other plant matter on degraded areas. This helps to restore normal landscape function and encourage plant growth and moisture retention.
“We used 10m rolls of soft galvanised all-purpose mesh and packed it with limestone wattle regrowth from the old station airstrip,” Ms McTaggart said.
“This means they were not only very easy to construct, but also relatively light and flexible. This made loading and unloading from the truck a lot easier and we could readily manipulate them into the position we wanted them out on the site.”
A total of 160 rolls were installed in a fish scale pattern, on a three acre site adjacent to an old watering point and fixed down with cut-off star pickets. While there hasn’t been any effective rain since the rolls were installed, they are already catching soil, grass seed and other plant material.
Jodie said envirorolls were likely to have a place in restoring relatively small, discrete areas on pastoral properties, but other techniques and sound grazing management should not be ignored.
“Envirorolls are a good way to start though,” she said. “Not only are they likely to do some good on the areas you’ve placed them, but they also get you looking at how water moves across the landscape in different situations and what you can do to retain moisture and encourage plant growth”.
Support for the Bidgemia envirorolls project was provided as part of the Upper Gascoyne LCDC’s Gascoyne River Conservation, Restoration and Rehabilitation project, funded by the State NRM office.
For further information contact Jodie McTaggart, phone (08) 9943 0501, or Paul Erkelenz (Regional Landcare Facilitator (Southern Rangelands)), phone (08) 9964 8249.
Image: Bidgemia staff Mark (L) and Lee Blackburn (R) from Scotland hard at work constructing envirorolls. (Picture credit: Jodie McTaggart).