Erosion control and chain of ponds protection
Case Study: DI and ME Gillespie – NSW
Gallagher Mega Anchor fencing being installed.
After purchasing their 1754 acre Clarence River based property (JARA) in 2013, Marg and Dave Gillespie have been working to put in place sustainable, regenerative land management practices.
One of the Gillespies’ many projects include the rehabilitation of a deep erosion incision cutting through the property, and the protection of an intact “chain of ponds” – a unique and environmentally valuable natural feature that comprises a series of ponds linked by shallow waterways.
Using Gallagher Permanent Electric Fencing, constructed with Gallagher Mega Anchor and Insulated Line Posts, and powered by a Portable Solar Energizer, the Gillespies are stopping cattle from entering the critical “chain of ponds” area and allowing regeneration and revegetation to occur. With successful revegetation, water and sediment flow will be slowed and the banks will be stabilised, reducing the amount of top soil being dislodged, ultimately improving the health of the Clarence River downstream.
- More than 2.5km of fencing was installed to fence off both the eroded site and the “chain of ponds”.
- Reeds were planted in the floor of the erosion site which has assisted in the revegetation project. Through collecting debris they will slowly build up material on the bottom of the incision.
- Trees and lomandras were planted at the “chain of ponds” site to slow the flow of water and improve soil fertility.
The environmental outcomes of the projects are critical to improving the Clarence River catchment as a whole. By addressing the erosion site, the Gillespies have started the process of rehabilitation of the site that has been incised through many years of erosive water force.
Previously the head cut at the erosion site was getting bigger as more slumping occurred and the gully was only getting deeper, however by fencing the area off they have prevented the impact of animals, allowing natural grasses to re-establish on the banks.
In addition to the fencing project, the Gillespies have planted trees on the banks and water reeds in the gully, effectively holding the banks in place and slowing and filtering the flow of water. This has benefited the water quality of the local catchment area, not only by improving water quality, but through providing for a more diverse range of birds and frogs in the area.
“This project has enabled us to improve the landscape through good landsmanship, slowing the flow, watching where the animals go by fencing and improving the hydrology in the erosion site and chain of ponds.” – Marg Gillespie, Landholder
Community and Social Outcomes
While the pandemic prevented the Gillespies from holding field days at the site, they were able to meet with neighbours, the President of their local landcare group, and seven farmers from across NSW to share knowledge about the importance of fencing in erosion control. With the “chain of ponds” being such a unique example of ancient Australia and due to its high importance to the landscape as a whole, the Gillespies know their project is a strong example of what can be achieved through working with the environment.
Recognising the importance of knowledge sharing to encourage environmental best practice outcomes and benefit the wider community, the Gillespies are planning future events to share their expertise and build local capacity.
Once the newly installed fencing system allows vegetation to establish, the slips will be minimised and later halted, benefitting the ecology of the flood plain by not having the rush of water and nutrient flowing off it and straight into the creek and river system.
The Gillespies expect the chain of ponds site will show improvement in the hydrology of the area, as when the ponds flood, water will spread across the flood plain depositing sediments and nutrients and banking water in the landscape. They continue to monitor the increase in bird species, frogs and mammals, and have already seen an increase in species frequenting the area.
Gallagher Electric fence energizer used to improve the Odonata Foundation’s ability to keep foxes out of the fenced sanctuary.