Rural Landholder Initiative assists landholders through education and incentives

What is the Rural Landholder Initiative?

The Rural Landholder Initiative is a key part of Lismore City Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy.

It is a rural landholder capacity-building project that involves educational opportunities such as field days and the use of free resources as well as incentives such as an annual small grants program.

The Rural Landholder Initiative was co-designed with Southern Cross University and works with landholders to restore and enhance biodiversity assets on private land.

Funding available for projects in 2022

Apply now for Rural Landholder Initiative funding

Expressions of interest for funding through the Rural Landholder Initiative are now open until Friday, 17 December 2021.

Information on the latest funding round for 2022 projects

The full guidelines on grant funding is available here.

The successful Rural Landholder Initiative, which is now in its sixth year, provides small grants to landowners to improve the biodiversity and farm productivity on their land.

Assistance of up to $7500 is available which can assist with professional advice, labour, and materials provided over two years with projects to commence in July 2022. 

Landholders can apply for funds to help with the following projects:

  • Bush regeneration works restoring areas of native habitat or
  • Revegetation with local native plants
  • Environmental weed control and initial follow-up maintenance
  • Plantings for erosion stabilisation using local native plants
  • Purchasing fencing materials to control livestock in riparian and wetland areas, and remnant vegetation improvement
  • Purchasing off-stream watering equipment to protect waterways from stock impact
  • Stabilising stock crossing points

To apply for 2022 Round 9 funding, click below

If you would like more information about the round 9 funding for 2022 projects, please contact our Rural Landholder Initiative Extension Officer Kate Steel on 6625 0500.

Examples of previous projects

A successful project example of enriching biodiversity is when landholders at Repentance Creek with 17 hectares of Camphor-dominated growth are being assisted to transform areas back into richly beautiful riparian rainforest.

Some examples of successful landholder projects include planting 800 trees to improve water quality entering the Wilsons River to control erosion, hold water in the paddocks and reduce drying winds which also provides habitat for local fauna.

Another project has restored 2.5 hectares of native rainforest along a creek by removing weeds and planting 280 endemic species to stop erosion.

Information for rural landholders

Council’s online Interactive Mapping Service may assist you to find out environmental information about your property.

Council has produced a range of booklets (available below) on the major environmental issues for five land use types in our region: beef graziers, dairy farmers, orchardists, floodplain croppers and rural ‘lifestyle’ landholders.

The booklets offer ideas for improving land and waterway management practices for biodiversity and include a Farm Health Assessment Tool so that landholders can self-assess their practices.

Biodiversity eNewsletter

Subscribe to our quarterly Lismore Biodiversity Newsletter.

This e-newsletter will notify you of upcoming grant opportunities and field days, events, education and training opportunities, and information on weeds and treatments.

Click here and select the relevant newsletters that are right for you.


Educational resources, booklets and planning tools

Lismore City Council has a range of educational resources, booklets and planning tools to help landholders manage their property and plan biodiversity actions or on-ground works.

We encouragers landholders to download and use these resources, examples and templates to help you manage your property and protect our natural environment.


Farm Health Assessment Tool and Education Booklets

Lismore City Council, in partnership with Southern Cross University, developed a Farm Health Assessment Tool. This tool enables landholders to self-assess their own land management practices against those identified as ‘out-dated’, ‘common’ or ‘best’ practice' in a range of land use situations. There are suggested pathways for improvement and landholders can use the tools as a form of ‘self-monitoring’ when managing biodiversity on their properties.

These booklets were developed in consultation with industry groups, landholders and relevant experts in land management.

There are four booklets which focus on different land management issues in major industries in the Lismore LGA.

Book 1: Healthy landscapes and waterways (this applies to ALL landowners)

The following books are in addition to Book 1:

Book 2: Beef grazing and dairying

Book 3: Macadamias and other orchards

Book 4: Floodplain cropping


Property planning

Below is a range of examples and templates for property and site action planning. These can help landholders understand how to structure a plan that will map what assets and issues you have and help you improve your property over time with key milestones, actions and timelines.

Property Planning - the Big Picture

Template - Site Action Plan

Template - Site Action Plan (Simple One Pager)

Template - Property and Site Action Plan

Site Action Plan Guidelines (Bush Futures)

Example - Farm Plan (production based)

Example - Maintenance Plan

Example - Draft Roseberry Creek Quarry Plan

Fact Sheet - Easy Steps Towards a Property Plan

Fact Sheet - Governing Policy in Rural Areas (Byron Shire Council)

Native Vegetation Plantings (RRCC)

Revegetation Guide for Subtropical Forest

Revegetating Streams in the Richmond Catchment - a Guide to Species and Planting Methods


If you wish to provide feedback about any of our resources, please email us at

Free field days for local landholders

Our free Rural Landholder Initiative field days focus on practical ways to manage rural properties. Topics covered may include:

  • Effectively managing environmental weeds, including camphor laurel, coral trees, lantana, privet etc.
  • Restoring waterways and managing erosion.
  • Looking after soil biology to reduce landholder costs.
  • Restoring habitat for threatened species such as koalas.

The field days are a great opportunity to meet other landholders, network, share stories about challanges and swap ideas on land management practices and techniques.

These field days are held on properties where the landholders have demonstrated exceptional land management practices and have great vision to improve their land for biodiversity. Council refers to these landholders as our ‘landholder champions’.

We will update this page in early 2021 with our free fields for the year.

Below is a series of short videos from some of our previous field days highlighting a range of interesting topics:

Video: Georgica Field Day – Rural Lifestyle and Biodiversity

Video: Whian Whian Field Day – Mixed Orchards and Biodiversity

Video: Coraki Field Day – Floodplain Cropping and Biodiversity

Video: Boarharbour Field Day – Grazing and Biodiversity in our Water Catchments


Grant funding opportunities

Annual grants program

The Rural Landholder Initiative assists and builds the capacity of rural landholders through various avenues, including an annual grants program.

Council calls for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) each year from rural landholders across the LGA who are seeking assistance with materials and labour for on-ground works to protect and enhance areas such koala habitat, riverbanks and remnant vegetation.

Assistance provided is up to $5000 for primary works and initial maintenance in the first year, with complex restoration projects eligible for second year funds up to $2500. Sites along floodplain riverbanks can apply for up to $10,000 if works include fencing and off-stream watering.

What are the current priorities?

High conservation value areas across the LGA

The concept of high conservation value (HCV) can be applied to species, populations, habitats or communities, or areas of land that support these HCV elements.

The BMS identifies criteria that Council considers must be present to consider an area as high conservation value. These include:

  • Land containing threatened species or populations
  • Key habitat for threatened fauna and flora, e.g. Regent Honeyeater habitat
  • Endangered Ecological Communities, e.g. Swamp Sclerophyll Forest
  • Key habitats that support priority vertebrate assemblages, e.g. Forest Red Gum grassy open forest
  • Land within areas identified as very high priority wildlife corridor
  • Koala habitat
  • Areas of land that support any type of rainforest
  • Old growth forest
  • Native riparian vegetation
  • Wetland and estuarine vegetation including on the floodplains

Full details of HCV and priority species are included in the BMS document and can be discussed with the Environmental Officers at Council. You can also find HCV areas on Council’s online mapping tool.

Map - High Conservation Value Habitat North of Lismore

Map - High Conservation Value Habitat South of Lismore

Map - Key Habitat Corridors North of Lismore

Map - Key Habitat Corridors South of Lismore

Map - Koala Habitat North of Lismore

Map - Koala Habitat South of Lismore

Map - Land Containing Threatened Species North Lismore

Map - Land Containing Threatened Species South Lismore


Restoration on the floodplain: Identify priority riparian areas and rehabilitate

The floodplains of the Richmond River are a priority to protect and enhance through weed management, revegetation, erosion control and habitat improvement. Retaining, rehabilitating and conserving existing native floodplain vegetation on riverbanks and wetlands is encouraged. 

Fencing for stock exclusion and off stream watering in sensitive riparian areas and wetlands on the floodplain may be eligible for increased funding (up to $10,000 over two years).

Map - Lismore Floodplain Landscapes

Project Ideas

Applicants are advised to consult the recently released Rural Landholder Initiative education booklets for ideas on land management practices that relate to improving and conserving biodiversity across our landscapes and waterways. The booklets relate to healthy landscapes and waterways, as well as four key industries operating in our region.

Potential applicants are advised to consult with qualified bush regenerators, Landcare professionals, Council staff, Local Land Services, Rous County Council (weeds and water) and government agents about project planning, action plans and best practice techniques.

The most successful projects are those that take a planned approach, are widely consulted and have landholder effort already committed.


Am I eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the eligibility criteria detailed in the Rural Landholder Initiative Guidelines for Funding.

In summary:

  • Only landholders who own land within the Lismore LGA are eligible to apply (community and industry groups are not eligible).
  • Lismore City Council staff are not eligible to apply.
  • Projects that are primarily for beautification or improving amenity without significant environmental outcomes are not eligible.
  • Projects are not eligible if they are part of any development consent condition.
  • Applicants must be up to date with rate payments to Lismore City Council for the property associated with the application.
  • All applicants must make an equal cash or in-kind contribution to the project funds and show value for money.
  • Successful applicants must be willing to sign an agreement to maintain the project site beyond the funding period.

These are the minimum requirements.

We STRONGLY RECOMMEND preparing a written plan for your project.

Projects that clearly demonstrate where the landholders are already working on a progressive program of works have a much higher consideration when seeking public funding support.

Examples of simple project plans are available on our Educational Resources, Booklets and Planning Tools page.


Other useful links and our partners

Southern Cross University:

Rous County Council:

Richmond Landcare Inc:

Soil Care:

Conservation Volunteers Australia:

North Coast Local Land Services:

Friends of the Koala: