Avon Projects Commence as Funds Reach the Ground in the Avon River Basin

8 February 2006

The first Avon Catchment Council Investment Plan Projects are hitting the ground in the Avon Region. Projects are designed to address issues of salinity, biodiversity, soil management, water quality, ground water and rural infrastructure and all will be commencing over the next few weeks.

Through a variety of measures, these projects will provide support, information and opportunities for people interested in achieving improvements and changes to the natural assets within the Avon Region.

These projects specifically address environmental issues such as the quality of waterways, agricultural issues such as soil health and the effects of introduced pests on a variety of land uses.

The Priority Environmental Pests project has just released a Pest Nomination Form enabling community members, landholders and those living in the community to nominate the animal and plant pests that are impacting on priority natural assets. This project will target prominent animal and plant pests that are not already effectively addressed through other pest management programs.

The results from the submissions will be collated to determine the 10 most significant pests in the Avon Region, which will help contribute to the development of appropriate pest management plans for the region. GHD are the delivery organization for this project.

The Soil Acidity Project is an opportunity for farmers to assess the effectiveness of applying lime to their soil to counteract the damaging effects of soil acidity. The project provides a subsidy to enable farmers to have the subsurface soil pH measured when they have a surface test done. The more comprehensive soil acidity measurement down the profile allows a better liming recommendation to be developed.

The project is delivered by the Department of Agriculture Northam and Precision SoilTech. It will help identify base line soil acidity levels across the region and offer methods of managing and improving soil acidity. The project will promote the benefits of treating soil acidity through lime application to improve pasture and crop growth and the overall profitability of agriculture. People interested in having their soils tested should contact Precision SoilTech.

The Avon River Waterways Project assists landholders whose properties are adjacent to the Avon River and its major tributaries in fencing off their waterway. Fencing off the river reduces the amount of sediment and nutrients moving into the waterway and in turn leads to an improvement in water quality.

Currently 85% of agricultural land of the Avon Rivers 165km length is fenced. This means there is reduced movement of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into the waterway and contributing to issues such as algal blooms in the Swan and Avon Rivers.

The Department of Environment in Northam is responsible for the delivery of this project. If you would like information about fencing off a tributary of the Avon River please contact the Northam office of the Department of Environment.

If you would like additional information about any of the projects mentioned above, or additional Avon Investment Plan projects, please contact the Avon Catchment Council.

Avon Catchment Council Media Contact: Rochelle Pyle
Ph: (08) 9690 2250
Bernard Kelly Department of Environment Ph: 9690 2628
Joanne Lipinski at GHD Ph: (08) 6222 8707
Steve Carr at Precision SoilTech Ph: 08 9364 4951