Partnership righting environmental wrongs

Article image - Partnership righting environmental wrongs A partnership between Ipswich Council and local graziers is reversing the damage done by more than 150 years of cattle grazing.

The first of more than 47,000 native trees, shrubs and ground cover plants has gone in as part of efforts to revegetate 26 hectares of the important Franklin Vale Creek catchment.

Ipswich City Council, Queensland, has teamed with the owners of three cattle grazing properties under the Franklin Vale Initiative in a bid to reverse ecosystem damage sustained over generations.

Since the 1840s, the Franklin Vale Creek area has been used mostly for livestock grazing which has left parts of it with instability and riverbank erosion, with remnant pockets of native vegetation along the creek infested with weeds.

This has meant increased sediment downstream, ultimately making its way to Moreton Bay.

Mark Tocchini is one of the property owners Council is working with. Franklin Vale Creek runs along the boundary of his 1300 acre Lower Mount Walker property.

The Franklin Vale Initiative, alongside Council’s Nature Conservation Grants, has allowed Mr Tocchini and property manager Peter Cahill to further their land management goals with kilometres of stock exclusion fencing along the creek, revegetation of native species and a new solar-powered bore.

“The two initiatives gave us the protection of the creek for longevity. We see ourselves as more custodians than owners,” Mr Tocchini said.

“The challenge for us was that (the creek) was the best source of water on the property, and of course a cattleman always wants to give his cattle the best access to good water.

“Without infrastructure, just allowing them to access the creek was the only way we could do it. But that’s not the best for the creek.

“Peter and I recognise that if we enjoy the creek, and want to have it for a long time, this is the right way to go about it.”

Mr Tocchini said while they were already on a sustainable farming path, the partnership with Council was important.

“Having that connection with Council – they know what we’re about and we know what they’re about – that’s a barrier worth breaking down.

“A lot of people view the council as intrusive, this is a good example where it’s a partnership towards achieving something good for the city.”