The Mulloon Institute’s long-term goal is to facilitate 100 landscape rehydration projects across Australia and overseas over the next decade.
We believe in a future where holistic landscape management is a mainstream practice and we want to help other communities adopt land management models that are productive, profitable and sustainable.
ROLL OUT INVOLVES:
- Collection and publishing of data and findings;
- Development of handbooks and manuals, training materials and courses;
- Preparation of financial tools to reduce commercial risks and increase financial outcomes;
- Conducting of training courses and field days;
- Development of a simulation tool for project planning, visualisation and management;
- Outreach programs to inspire other communities to implement similar projects;
- Packaging a body of expertise and experience to support and optimise the outcomes of future projects;
- Develop policy guidelines to make future implementations easier.
Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project
This project is the model for community programmes to heal and rehabilitate landscapes across Australia, providing stable, resilient and productive landscapes.
The Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project involves 17 landholders and covers an entire catchment of 23,000 hectares of land, including 40 km of creeks and tributaries including Mulloon, Reedy, Sandhills and Shiel Creeks. The project area forms a critical biodiversity corridor by connecting the Tallaganda National Park with the protected State Reserve of the Mid-Shoalhaven Water Catchment.
It is here that our unique model of holistic landscape repair is being executed, documented and translated into a model adaptable by communities across Australia and the globe. This work combines practical experience and implementation, backed by real data and scientific studies to improve the landscape as a whole, the farming enterprises that operate within it, and the wellbeing of the greater community.
The primary focus of implementation is on creek rapair and erosion control methods to reconnect the Mulloon Creek to its landscape, restoring the creeks and floodplains to as close as possible to their original state and function.
Creek interventions - ecostructures made with natural materials such as logs and rock - will be made into the creek bed with the goal of:
- Preventing further incision of the creek
- Stop and then reverse erosion
- Raise the creek bed
- Slow and filter the flow of water
- Facilitate water storage in the floodplain
Healthy creeks store water in the adjoining landscape, providing critical soil moisture for flora and fauna to thrive, building resilience for extreme weather conditions. Small creek interventions will be supported by adopting a holistic approach to agriculture and landscape management along the creek, including the use of sustainable grazing methods and leading edge technologies, fencing, tree planting, slope stabilisation and key line formation.
RESEARCH OBJECTS AND OUTCOMES
- Rehydrate the total landscape of the defined area. Priorities are the floodplains, then the undulating slopes, then the higher country;
- Create a significant banking system for water;
- Provide measurably clean water for Sydney with the aim of saving built infrastructure to do this;
- Increase the productivity and profitability of all farms in the defined area;
- Measure and account for natural capital;
- Increase biodiversity of flora and fauna to what will be regarded as a healthy stable state – including vegetation (groundcover, shrubs and trees) animals, birds, insects (especially bees), aquatic and soil life;
- To be a complete and uncompromised demonstration of the philosophy and practice of Peter Andrews OAM, as well as others who have and will contribute their expertise
- Through efficiency and effectiveness of all human, financial and natural resources, provide value to not only landowners involved but to the taxpayer providing significant funds for this model of ecosystem services;
- Undertake and complete a full education and experiential training programme, at different competency levels, for planners, operators, regulators, and financiers, especially farmers, LLS staff, earthmovers, bureaucrats, indigenous natural resource managers, politicians and bankers.
- To be a model of active community cooperation for “environment, farming, and society".
Several scientific baseline surveys have been conducted prior to the MCLRP to help us monitor the impact of the project on the Mulloon Creek and surrounding catchment.
Invertebrate Survey (2015-16)
Australian National University
Baseline Bird Survey (2015-17)
NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
Baseline Fish Survey (2016)
University of Canberra
Pilot Project - Natural Sequence Farming
Prior to European settlement around the late 1820s, Mulloon Creek was very different. It did not have a continuous channel cutting through the floodplain forming a drain. Instead the water moved slowly. The floodplains were grassy and contained a chain of ponds, which would remain full even during the driest times. Floods would spread across the floodplain, depositing sediments and nutrients - and banking water.
The introduction of European farming, and a whole suite of new plant and animal species, dramatically altered the delicate energy dissipating balance that existed between the vegetation and the water cycle of the Mulloon floodplain. This has led to nearly 200 years of soil, nutrient, biodiversity and water loss.
In 2006, backed by Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Mulloon Creek Natural Farms carried out a successful Natural Sequence Farming rehydration pilot project demonstrating improvement to health and productivity of a degraded section of Mulloon Creek.
The project resulted in:
- Increased flora and fauna
- Improved water quality
- Sustained water flow
- 60% increase in agricultural productivity