De Grey and Yarrie pastoral stations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have completed a project to establish ‘rangelands rehydration’ demonstration sites on erosion sites and floodplains.
The project was coordinated by the De Grey Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC), with funding provided by Rangelands NRM from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Commencing in 2013 and completed in September 2015, earthworks using graders and front end loaders have erected around 130 earth banks at ten different sites. The banks slow surface runoff and direct floodwaters to spread out over the floodplain, controlling erosion and encouraging more water to soak into soils.
Bill Currans, Executive Officer with the De Grey LCDC said they had been received training by Darryl Hill and Peter Andrews to consider the whole landscape to understand water movement.
“They received help to plan work to install contour banks on floodplains and grader banks across clay pans to slow water, encourage rangelands rehydration and increased plant growth while reducing soil erosion,” Mr Currans said.
Having Mr Andrews on site helped build confidence in the stations owners to undertake earthworks on their own after his visit.
On Yarrie station, Peter Andrews walked contour lines ahead of the grader to demonstrate how to identify and follow contour lines across low-gradient floodplains.
This approach is efficient and allows banks to be graded in a continuous process.
“With relatively modest funding, both stations have completed a significant amount of work that will continue to demonstrate the concepts and effects of rangelands rehydration,” Mr Currans said.
Annabelle Coppin from Yarrie Station said the rehydration work had been trialled in between mustering times.
“With the help of Rangelands NRM and the De Grey LCDC, we’ve been having a crack at rangeland rehydration on Yarrie Station,” she said.
We are looking forward to seeing what happens with the first rains over this country and observe and learn what our work can achieve.
1) Chris Curnow, Rangelands NRM and Mark Bettini, De Grey Station, inspect one of the banks on the De Grey river floodplain. (Photo by Bill Currans)
2) Rangelands rehydration banks constructed on Yarrie Station using a grader in July 2015. (Photo by Annabelle Coppin).