Project Update: Green Dams Project

Attendees at the Green Dams project Field Day
Attendees at the Green Dams project Field Day

Restricted access damGREEN DAMS PROJECT: IMPROVING VEGETATION MANAGEMENT AROUND DAMS

 

Wrapping up with great success, the Green Dams Project marks a significant achievement in improving vegetation management around dams. In a collaborative effort, Food & Fibre Gippsland, serving as the Vic Hub’s Gippsland Node, partnered with the South Gippsland Landcare Network (SGLN) to host a field day. This event highlighted and shared the impacts of the project with local stakeholders.

 

Property owner and field day host, Jillian Staton, shared insights from the project, saying, “The Greening Dams project is all about changing farmers’ approach to the dams on their property. Instead of it just being solely a stock water-place, it’s about using dams for biodiversity, and then in turn using that increased biodiversity in the form of plantings to hopefully reduce the evaporation and therefore retain more water on farm.”

 

Jillian Staton (kneeling) inspecting water samples.Jillian also expressed her amazement at the rapid improvement in water quality, noting, “I think for me, the biggest surprise was how quickly the water quality in this dam improved after we fenced it off. When we just fenced it off, we took water samples and looked at the macroinvertebrates, and the only bugs that we had in there really were water boatman.”

The lack of macroinvertebrate diversity in the sample indicated the water was poor quality.

“But within a year we’ve got mayflies and a high variety of insects, which indicates that this is excellent water quality now – we wouldn’t have expected that to have occurred in less than 12 months as it did.”

 

The project has yielded several significant outcomes, including better water retention and quality, as well as reducing the risk of dam failure caused by erosion. These improvements are a testament to the effectiveness of enhanced vegetation management strategies.

 

During the field day, Dr Ty Matthews, an aquatic ecologist from Vic Hub partner Deakin University, along with Matt Bowler from the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, presented their findings. See the Vic Hub’s Project page.

 

SGLN  plans to create a case study documenting various management strategies, aimed at helping farmers who are considering implementing similar projects on their own properties.

 

All image credits: Barb Radley, F&FG.