Koorda farmer keen to protect native salt land

23 April 2015

Koorda landholders Matthew and Lynne Cooke have spent part of their summer fencing fragile vegetation growing on part of the Cowcowing lake system.

The pair was successful in gaining a Bushcare grant through natural resource management group Wheatbelt NRM.

“We could see the vegetation getting eroded as the sheep looked for green feed along the eastern edge of the lake system,” Matthew Cooke said.

“We’ve fenced out nearly three kilometres or 44 hectares of that fragile land, with the help of this grant.

“If we can keep the sheep out, the land will begin to regenerate and combined with fox and cat trapping and baiting, we’re hoping to see some native fauna return.”

Matthew and Lynne Cooke were one of 33 landholders who successfully applied for a Bushcare grant through Wheatbelt NRM, supported by WWF, in 2014.

Last year the program helped inject $281,000 into land care activities in the Wheatbelt, to protect crucial habitat for threatened species including Carnabys Cockatoo, Red-tailed Phascogale, Malleefowl and Western Spiny-tailed Skink.

A total of $534,000 has been spent through the Bushcare grants scheme over the past 4 years.

Wheatbelt NRM’s Rachael Major said because the Cowcowing lake system covered more than 15,000 hectares, the work of individual landholders was crucial.

“While many people think these salt lakes are barren, they are an important habitat for a variety of wading birds such as the strikingly coloured Pied Stilt,” Rachael Major said.

“We encourage other landholders to apply for a Bushcare grant. We will fund a range of activities including feral animal control, weed control, fencing and revegetation.”

The deadline for application is 13th May 2015.

This project is supported by Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Inc, through funding from the Australian Governments National Landcare Programme.

For more information visit the website www.wheatbeltnrm.org.au or call 9670 3100.