Participation in Melbourne Water’s Stream Frontage Management Program (Program) helps everyone, say Yarra Valley beef farmers Ann Frazer and Yvonne Virgona.
Both Ann Frazer and Yvonne Virgona have taken advantage of the assistance offered by the Program to enhance the riparian land on their properties.
Ann has fenced off 3 km of Yarra River frontage on her Healesville property while Yvonne has fenced off 1 km of Ure Creek frontage and 2 km of Yarra River frontage on her property at Launching Place.
Both agree that the benefits of their work, including better stock control, improved water quality and an increase in birdlife, more than compensate for the loss of license grazing land and the need for weed control in the now protected areas.
Melbourne Water is helping farmers keep stock out of rivers, creeks and other waterways because:
• Dung and urine carry pathogens, and high levels of nutrients which encourage algal growth;
• Hard hooves damage the banks (evidenced by pugging, erosion etc) and cause sediment to enter the catchment;
• Stock eat and trample the vegetation within the riparian zone. This removes the natural buffer that is designed to protect our waterways by filtering nutrients and stabilising the banks; and
• Damaging the vegetation within the riparian zone also destroys habitat for wildlife. Wildlife and biodiversity have their own role to play in keeping our catchments healthy.
If you own land that fronts onto a river or creek (also known as riparian land), you may be eligible for funding to help you manage that land. The Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Management Program supports work that protects or enhances riverbanks, such as weed control, fencing and planting native vegetation. Visit the Melbourne Water website to find out more about the program.