Native grasses no longer ride on the sheep’s back

A Sunbury landowner has implemented an innovative grazing arrangement to help support native vegetation on his property, thanks to a grant from Hume City Council.

John Lakey recently installed a rotational grazing system that alternates his sheep and cows through small paddocks, to protect a variety of indigenous grasses, forbs and herbs.

The farmer’s success demonstrates the way Hume’s Conserving our Rural Environment grants assist to nurture local ecosystems, and applications for the 2015 program are now open to make possible medium and large projects.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Adem Atmaca, encouraged landowners and environmental groups to consider whether a grant could assist them to better manage natural resources.

“One of the great things about Hume is that we are home to many parcels of rural land, as well as conservation reserves and large areas of open space,” Cr Atmaca said.

“People like John Lakey tend their land every day, and we want to help them protect those aspects which are native and unique.

“John’s 80-hectare property is located in the volcanic plains to the north-west of the Sunbury township, and it contains some sections of real environmental significance.

“However, his livestock posed a real threat to indigenous vegetation and weeds like Bent Grass have made it hard for native grasses to compete.

“John used a $10,000 Hume City Council grant to purchase equipment that has ultimately allowed native grasses to set their seed at different times throughout the year, and the early results are very promising.”

Community groups and people who own a property larger than 0.4 hectares could be eligible for a Conserving our Rural Environment grant.

Cr Atmaca said Council wanted to make it easier for Hume residents to nurture environmentally-sensitive lands.

“We have to protect Hume’s environment and treasure our native plants so that they can be handed down to future generations,” he said.

“Council is keen to back the people who care deeply for our environment, so that Hume continues to accommodate a diverse array of native plants and grasslands.”

The Conserving our Rural Environment grants may be available for residents who wish to revegetate land and control noxious weeds, as well as those who need to protect sensitive areas from foxes, rabbits and other pests.

The program can also support individuals who wish to undertake training and other activities so that they can better manage natural resources.

Hume City Council will assess suggested projects according to their management plan, conservation significance, location and likely outcomes.

Applications for medium and large projects close on 12 June 2015, and open for small projects on 1 July 2015.

Further information and application forms are here.

Updated : 3:55 PM, 29 May 2015

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