What is riparian land?

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Riparian land is any land that adjoins or directly influences a body of water. It includes:

* the land immediately alongside small creeks and rivers, including the river bank itself;

* gullies and dips which sometimes run with water;

* areas surrounding lakes; and

* wetlands and river floodplains which interact with the river in times of flood.

Riparian land also plays an important role in the lifecycle of many native animals and plants, it provides wildlife corridors as well as being a refuge for animals in times of drought or fire.

By its very nature, riparian land is fragile, and performs a vital link between land and water ecosystems.

Riparian vegetation is made up of the native plant species that grow alongside creek-lines , enhancing the habitat value of an area and providing stability to creek banks.

Riparian revegetation can halt the degradation of land alongside waterways, prevent erosion of creek banks during storm events and provide habitat for fauna.

We spotted many native animals on a short walk through the Cockatoo Creek corridor over the Easter long weekend this year, particularly the birdlife. As we were fencing I was struck by the diversity of birdsong. It made me determined to have a break at take the time to spot some of the voices the song belonged too. Unfortunately I only had the ipad, not the best for taking photos with. Next time I will ensure I have the camera nearby rather rather than on the kitchen table a few kilometres away in the farm house…..

 

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Are they poles or posts?

Not many of us  think about fence making. The fences we hope, when we buy our homes are up and serviceable, if they get damaged we usually make a telephone call to the insurance person or a handyman for help.

Quite a few years ago now misfortune had Jorn living in a rental in Wembley Downs. At that time there was a move in the area to install underground power. The former poles that adorned the streets were being made redundant. Jorn after talking with his mate David Lee both spotted an opportunity, they  thought they would make great strainer posts. Jorn actually tried to wrench them from their mountings but sadly they were well fixed. They were now redundant and he could see a great new life for the old poles. A valued  life on the farm. Little did the poles realize what he had install for them.

Move onwards to seven years later and here we are Jorn the former farmer who like many, still owns the farm, is fencing….

Farmers do the fencing themselves and by nature are always looking at ways to save a little money.

Jorn had discovered where the used electricity poles went to live, a forlorn life. His mate David Lee was the first to offer them hope and rescued a great many a telephone poles. After a call of two later he discovered he could purchase them and remake them anew.

Now Jorn was ready to realise the hope of reusing the old electricity poles. He too made the all important telephone calls to mount the rescue of this important resource.

Looking sad lost have arrived here at to the half way house – our home. They need to be re-modeled and cut down as strainer posts! Our lucky driveway and carport here in the city are the venue for the second round of pole trimming to turn them into strainer posts.

This week we have been busy planning the installation of the next four kilometres of fencing. All the posts, fastlock, fence clips have been ordered. Our names placed on the whiteboard at Kojonup Ag Supplies for the small hydraulic rammer. We have it all laid out on paper to try and make the job smoother when we are down there.  Image

Jorn Home with his booty

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The humble beginnings

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It was many moons ago back in 1971 when the desire for adventure brought three members of the Swedish born Ramel family to Western Australia. Jorn, Maj and their youngest son also called Jorn, then eight. Jorn senior was in search for adventure and new lands to farm. The family has over a 500 year history farming in Sweden which continues today in Skane, Sweden.

Bellalee is actually an aboriginal name for place of the two eagles. The property is blessed with Cockatoo Creek and Muir’s Brook that marks the beginning of the Tone River which is a tributary running into the renowned Warren River. Even today at summers end the Tone has water.

In 1971 it was a magnificent waterway, heavily treed with an abundance of flora. The Ramel’s were not the first to farm Bellalee. Move forward 40 years, the flow of Cockatoo Creek and Muirs Brook is a little sad, the Tone River still deep but shrunk from its original banks. However it has water even at the end of summer but pleading for help.

Jorn mentioned how beautiful it once was this marked the start of our efforts to return it to what it once was or at least give it our best shot. It took over a year just to get started, we lucked out in meeting Mr Phil Worts from Land for Wildlife. This marked the turn to not one but two regeneration projects this year.

Whilst we have been down several times tinkering around the edges of the projects the Easter long weekend we got serious. As we had secured funding from the Department of Conservation’s 2012-13 Enviornmental Community Grant we moved efficiently and installed just under 4kms of fencing for the first phase of the project.

Today we have confirmation that SWCC – (the South West Catchments Council) have given pre-approval (contracts are yet to be signed) for the second phase of the project. We are in grateful to Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC for his site assessment to assist us is obtaining grant number two.

With these two grants all of Cockatoo Creek, Muirs Brook and the Tone river that are on the property will be fenced and regenerated creating a significant natural corridor for the local flora and fauna. The Tone River has permanent pools that provide refuge for water fowl and aquatic fauna during seasonally dry summer months

To date we would like to thank the follow people:

Mr Phil Wort, Land for Wildlife whose expertise an amazing report has proved invaluable assistance.

DEC and the ECI for granting us funding for the first phase.

Mr Terry Brooks from SWCC and the panel grant number two.

Jane Kowald, Southern Dirt for her expertise in local flora.

Kojonup Agricultural Supplies for  the use of the small post rammer

Mr David Lee for the loan of the post rammer for the strainer posts.

Mr Colin-Ednie Brown for the use of his tractor (to fit the strainer post-rammer) and his diesel 4

WD ute to house the small post rammer.

Mr Steve Blyth, Blyth Tree Farm for his knowledge and assistance re local flora

along the start of the Tone River at the end of summer

along the start of the Tone River at the end of summer

Jezabel the doggess, looking from the creek line over towards part of the first project regeneration area

Jezabel the doggess, looking from the creek line over towards part of the first project regeneration area

Tone river this week after a little last a fortnight ago

Tone river this week after a little rain a fortnight ago

The humble beginning

the start of the Tone River

the start of the Tone River at summers end

looking towards Cockatoo Creek

looking towards Cockatoo Creek

Woodenup Pool, a haven for fauna during the summer month's

Woodenup Pool, a haven for fauna during the summer month’s

Jorn hard at work on the back of the trailer

Jorn hard at work on the back of the trailer