Rural Landholder Initiative assists landholders through education and incentives
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.
Rural Landholder Initiative New Projects Update
2020 included the late start for 31 new Rural Landholder Initiative Projects granted funds through the Biodiversity Management Strategy. Below is a summary of the new (Round 7) projects that started in October 2020.
The projects are an investment of $203,000 of public funds over two years with at least $260,000 of in-kind investment from landholders. Individual project funds range between $3000-$10000 depending on need and location. All are contributing to the outcomes of the Lismore City Council Biodiversity Management Strategy.
For more information about these projects, click here.
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.
Go to the bottom of this webpage and sign up in the 'Subscribe' section for our quarterly Lismore Biodiversity News.
This e-newsletter will notify you of upcoming grant opportunities and field days, events, education and training opportunities, and information on weeds and treatments.
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:
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.
If you wish to provide feedback about any of our resources, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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.
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).
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.
- 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: http://scu.edu.au/
Rous County Council: https://www.rous.nsw.gov.au/landing.html
Richmond Landcare Inc: http://www.richmondlandcare.org/
Soil Care: http://www.soilcare.org/
Conservation Volunteers Australia: https://conservationvolunteers.com.au/
North Coast Local Land Services: http://northcoast.lls.nsw.gov.au/
Friends of the Koala: http://www.friendsofthekoala.org/fok/