Building community capacity to restore waterways

A group of about 20 people sit on chairs on the grass outside a house, listening to a presentation. Eucalptus trees and a water tank are visible in the background.
Attendees learning about stream restoration at a workshop by Leschenault Catchment Council.

Stream restoration workshops for farmers are underway as part of Healthy Estuaries WA. Led by local catchment groups, the workshops will build the practical skills of farmers and community members to reduce stock access and revegetate areas close to waterways. The workshops also boost knowledge and appreciation of the benefits of healthy streams for farms and receiving estuaries.

In February, the Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee hosted a workshop on collecting native seeds for revegetation. Participants had the opportunity to explore native vegetation in the field, learning how to identify local plants and different techniques to collect seeds.

GeoCatch hosted a workshop for local farmers in the Vasse-Wonnerup catchment in March 2022.  

GeoCatch’s Sustainable Agriculture Project officer Jenelle Schult said: “Participants got up close and personal with their aquatic neighbours, including south-western snake-necked turtles, nightfish, blue-spot goby and macroinvertebrates, when they joined the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Healthy Rivers Assessment Team to monitor the Sabina River.

“Although many of our rivers don’t flow all year, they provide critical refuge pools for native species over drier months.

“Farmers play an important role in protecting the health of our waterways and the life they support. Engaging them in science and Rivercare activities helps to build connection between farming practices and the environment.” 

In May, Leschenault Catchment Council hosted a riparian workshop in Dardanup featuring hands-on demonstrations of earthworks for site preparation, plant species selection and fauna surveys.

Catchment officer Sonny Vitale said the workshop was well received by the local community.

“We had a great turn out with farmers and other community members enjoying learning from the experts about how to plan and implement restoration on their properties,” Sonny said.

“We learned about earthworks to prepare sites for revegetation, and about planning the best mix of native plant species to attract birds and provide habitat for critters such as insects and frogs.”

If you want to learn more about how to get involved and maximise the environmental and on-farm benefits of stream restoration, please contact your local catchment group. This project is part of Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways. These State Government initiatives aim to support the long-term health of our South West estuaries.