Cleaner water on farms creates cleaner catchment

19 Mar 2020

Andrew Taylor

The NSW Government’s Clean Coastal Catchments (CCC) Project erosion control incentives program is making a big difference to North Coast macadamia farms and waterways.

The CCC Project, in partnership with NSW Local Land Services (LLS), is working with 50 macadamia farms to reduce sediment and fertiliser run off, for the protection of water quality in estuaries and marine habitat downstream.

Erosion control measures implemented on Saratini Farms north west of Ballina have recently been put to the test with torrential rain over ten days on the NSW North Coast.

“We had very heavy rain here in February, but the water running off the macadamia orchards is almost clear,” said Farm Manager, Andrew Taylor.

“In the past during storms like these, we would get heavy gully erosion exposing rock and the run-off would be brown with soil washed off the farm.

“We are seeing a huge difference, we’re losing far less soil, and that means we’re keeping more of it on the property and not in the rivers.”

NSW DPI Macadamia Development Officer, Jeremy Bright said the CCC incentives program will significantly reduce the amount of suspended solids, nitrogen and phosphorous flowing off farmland and into coastal waterways.

“This type of work also has the added benefit of making orchards more resilient and growers more profitable,” Mr Bright said.

“Gains can be made from redirecting water flows away from the trees and keeping the harvestable nuts from being washed away.”

LLS Senior Land Services Officer, Kel Langfield said drainage improvements and changes to orchard configuration had helped reduce runoff.

“By applying contour banks in the orchards, and changing the orchard layout to increase sunlight between the orchard canopy - which encourages grass cover to bind the soil together - farmers have been able to slow water and reduce run-off,” Mr Langfield said.

“The CCC Project is helping to make farmers more profitable by improving drainage and reducing erosion in their orchards, while also making a big difference to water quality in the coastal catchment and the marine estate.

The Clean Coastal Catchments project is funded under the NSW Government's 10-year Marine Estate Management Strategy, developed by the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority.

More information on the NSW Government’s Clean Coastal Catchments (CCC) Project erosion control incentives program is available.

Media contact: Anne Brooke (02) 6763 1163 or 0477 358 305