Tamar Action Grants to Improve Water Health

Dairy farmers and graziers across Northern Tasmania are taking steps to improve water health on their properties and in the Tamar catchment, through the help of Tamar Action Grants, as part of the Tamar River Health Action Plan (RHAP) Catchment Works Program managed by NRM North.

In 2018 under the Launceston City Deal, the Tasmanian and Australian governments jointly committed to funding the $10 million Catchment Works Program. The provision of Tamar Action Grants is underway to support grazing and dairy landholders within priority areas to keep stock out of waterways and reduce the pathogens that find their way into the water catchment. Funded activities include the installation of waterway fencing, provision of alternative water supply, stock crossings, riparian revegetation and effluent management upgrades.

Applications for works totalling $1.1million have already been approved, however NRM North Strategic Programs Manager, Andrew Baldwin, says additional awareness of the program is needed to reach all potential funding recipients in the priority areas.

“The second round of grant applications have been assessed and 23 landholders will receive funding in this round. We expect a large percentage of grazing farmers and the majority of dairy farmers to benefit from these grants over the next 5 years, and we want to speak with each of them to help develop projects that deliver maximum impact”, Mr Baldwin said.

Stephen Pearn from Whitemore is one landholder in the initial priority areas of the North Esk, South Esk and Meander catchments who received funding in the second round of applications.

“The funding will help me to exclude 800 head of cattle from waterways on my property over the next three years, by constructing 1300m of fencing, install four troughs, two stock crossings and revegetating 0.66ha of stream banks. It will make a big difference to water quality, both on my property and downstream” Mr Pearn said.

Stephen Pearn Tamar Action Grants
Stephen Pearn on his property at Whitemore

Effluent is a major source of pathogens in northern Tasmanian waterways and the improvements made through the Tamar Action Grants over the next 5 years are expected to reduce pathogens in the Tamar estuary by 4%. The Catchment Works program aims to fund 740km of fencing over the next 5 years to exclude stock from waterways on grazing and dairy farms and improve effluent management in the dairy industry. The project is on track to achieve this target, with 115 km (15%) of fencing approved in the project’s first 6 months.

The project is a result of work undertaken by the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce to complete a River Health Action Plan that prioritised action to address water quality in the Tamar estuary and catchment. Implementation is supported with funding provided by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments through the Launceston City Deal including the Australian Government Tamar Estuary River Health Grant. Graziers and dairy farmers interested in funding opportunities are encouraged to contact NRM North on (03) 6333 7777.