Wallamore Anabranch and Peel River Rehabilitation Project

The Wallamore Anabranch and Peel River Rehabilitation Project consists of riverbank stabilisation and on-farm native revegetation to improve water quality, farming outcomes, and habitat connectivity along more than nine kilometres of mainly cleared riparian land of the Peel River and its Wallamore Anabranch near Tamworth, New South Wales.
 
Over the past decade, the Wallamore Anabranch has suffered from ongoing serious bank erosion, impacting on multiple agricultural properties and downstream aquatic habitat. At high flows, landholders experience significant erosion, farming land loss, and reduced productivity.
 
A project launch was held on 5 December 2016 on the site of some of the worst erosion, to celebrate that works had begun. The launch was well attended by our project partners, local landowners and Landcarers, the Tamworth Green Army team, media, and some notable VIPs.
 
The event included a Welcome to Country from Local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Neville Sampson, a supportive speech from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on the merits of protecting our farmlands, and speeches from CEO of Landcare Australia Tessa Jakszewicz, David Gowing from Wallamore Road Landcare Group, General Manager of North West Local Land Services Ken Flower, and Regional Director of NSW DPI Pam Welsh. Other VIPs included the Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson MP and Mayor Col Murray of Tamworth Regional Council.

Wallamore Project Launch (L-R) Dr Shane Norrish (Landcare Australia), Pam Welsh (NSW DPI), Tessa Jakszewicz (Landcare Australia), David Gowing (Wallamore Road Landcare Group), Kevin Anderson (Member of Tamworth), Barnaby Joyce, Wes Brown (Wallamore Road Landcare Group), Milly Hobson (Fisheries NSW).

Nearly $2 million in funding has been committed to this vital remediation work. In addition to significant in-kind contributions of staff time, landholder equipment, and other resources, the following monetary contributions towards the project have been made:
 

  • NSW DPI ($632,000; through an Australian Government grant)
  • Landcare Australia ($350,000; through the Borland Bequest)
  • North West Local Land Services ($155,000)
  • Australian Government 20 Million Trees Programme ($100,000)
  • Lion ($20,000)
  • Tamworth Regional Council (in-kind support).

 
A project of this scale takes significant planning, and was only achieved after many years of negotiations and work from multiple people. In 2014, Landcare Australia was seeking to identify projects with dairy farmers in the Tamworth area that could be used as case study examples to promote good natural resource management in dairying, as part of its partnership with Lion.
 
Once it became apparent that the erosion of the Wallamore anabranch was a significant local long-term issue that demanded attention, Landcare Australia focused on this opportunity. Liaising with North West LLS and NSW DPI to coordinate co-funding contributions, Landcare Australia also connected with the Wallamore Road Landcare Group who had been advocating for parts of the project for many years.
 
Landcare Australia will coordinate the project for the next three years on behalf of the project steering committee, comprising of Landcare Australia, NSW DPI, North-West LLS and Wallamore Landcare Group. Mr Jim McDonald, a previous Chairman of the former Namoi CMA, is the independent Chairman of the steering committee.
 
Some key features of the project:

    • Significant bank stabilisation works are underway to prevent further erosion of channel banks. These works are a combination of rock groynes, rock armouring, earthworks to reduce the slope of upper embankments, and extensive revegetation.

 

    • The project will stabilise actively eroding areas and re-establish native habitat that has disappeared from much of the riparian zone. The revegetation works will re-establish connectivity between remnant native habitat areas on the peel and anabranch channels. In addition, the overall impact of the terrestrial works will greatly improve aquatic habitat in the channel and downstream.

 

    • The project aims to rehabilitate and regenerate 25 hectares of the threatened ecological community of River Red Gum/River Oak riverine open forest, leading to improved habitat connectivity, reduced sediment loads entering the waterway, bank stabilisation, and a reduction in weeds.

 

    • The riparian zone will be fenced by landholders to exclude stock from routinely entering the area to support rehabilitation and stabilisation of the banks and channel.

 

  • More than 20,000 native seedlings are to be propagated and planted as part of the works. The first planting of 1,000 trees was undertaken throughout October and November 2016 by the Tamworth Green Army team, along with DPI Fisheries, Local Land Services and Landcare Australia staff. The bulk of the plantings are scheduled to be undertaken in the autumn and winter months of 2017. The project reports under the 20 Million Trees Programme and will include monitoring to ensure the successful establishment of the trees planted.

 
The bank remediation and rock stabilisation work was completed between November 2016 and February 2017, with the first major section of the rock stabilisation work being completed in early December.
 
For any enquiries please contact Landcare Australia on 02 9412 1040.

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