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Canoeing Lake Carpul - a natural wonderland

Canoeing trip participants got first-hand insight into the impact of environmental watering on Murray River wetlands at Lake Carpul, near Robinvale, at the weekend.  
About 15 community members from as far as Mildura and Swan Hill took to the water on Sunday on a guided tour organised by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority.  Breezy conditions and cooler weather provided a perfect setting for paddlers to get out on the lake, enjoy the water and spot waterbirds and wildlife. The group paddled around the edge of half of Lake Carpul, then up the channel between Lake Carpul and Lake Powell, then across Lake Carpul back to where they had started.  A previous birdwatching day had observed approximately 60 species of birds to the lakes area, and paddlers were certainly not  disappointed. Waterbirds, of course, were in particularly good numbers and canoes are the best way to be able to get quite close to them.Hundreds of waterbirds and other species have arrived at Lakes Powell and Carpul since the delivery of environmental flows, with the watering also supporting healthy floodplain vegetation, which is home to important species such as carpet python and bats.

Pictured: Nat Mouvet, Ruby Saris, 8 and Malcolm Douglas, all of Mildura, canoeing on the recently filled Lake Carpul.

In your February newsletter...

Preparing for climate change in the Mallee...have your say

The Draft Mallee Natural Resource Management Plan for Climate Change is now out for public comment.
This Plan is the first of its kind in the region and considers climate projections recently released by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology to evaluate the impact a changing climate may have on land, water and biodiversity in the Victorian Mallee.
Using this information, priorities for where natural resource management efforts are targeted, and the type of work to be done, have been identified.
We are seeking feedback on this Consultation Draft to help us make informed decisions about issues and locations that are important to Mallee communities.
To read the draft plan and have your say, visit the Mallee CMA website at
Hard copies are also available by request to the Mallee CMA via phone 5051 4377 or email:

Submissions close at 4.30pm Friday, 4 March 2016.

Share your wetlands, win a GoPro in our photo competition

What's your favorite wetland in the Mallee?
Take a photograph and share it with the rest of us, and you could win a fantastic GoPro video camera.  To celebrate World Wetlands Day (February 2) we are running a photo competition in conjunction with ABC Open.
We already know we have some of the most amazing and beautiful wetlands in the world in the Mallee, with the Hattah Lakes system one of only 11 sites in Victoria listed on the Ramsar Convention.  But while Hattah Lakes is our best-known, there are literally dozens of Mallee wetlands that are particularly special or beautiful to someone.
Entries in the competition must be registered at ABC Open:  When uploading their photos, photographs must be tagged #malleewetland Photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance to wetlands within the Mallee and Riverland regions.  The winner of the GoPro HD Hero4 Action Video Camera (Silver Edition) will be announced on 1 March 2016.

Women on Farms Gathering 2016

Hopetoun March 18-20

Registrations are open for the 2016 Women on Farms Gathering, which is this year being hosted in the Mallee, at Hopetoun. Women are coming from around Australia for this event -- don't miss out on this fantastic networking, learning and social opportunity.
Check out the program at and register online or contact Helen for more information 0429 006 016.
Proudly supported by the Mallee CMA.


Native forage for stockfeed - a guide for farmers

Mallee farmers looking to grow native forage shrubs for stockfeed now have a comprehensive ready-reference tool to help with their decision-making and practices.
Using shrub-pasture mixes is increasingly popular among farmers who have retained grazing livestock as part of their operation and the new field guide, called “Native forage shrubs for low rainfall areas”, was the result of 10 years of research.
Farmers who retain livestock in their farming operations, or who want to move back into livestock, have identified the need for a hardy, reliable and nutritional feed source to nourish stock at certain times of the year and to support their work in reducing erosion and improving farm health.
Many have been trialling the native forage options themselves, particularly with saltbush, and there’s also been quite a lot more formal trials and research. 
This guide brings together all of the information, data and findings and presents it simply and in a user-friendly way, and that’s been very well-received by farmers.
The guide was launched at field days at Murrayville and the Millewa in December, with about 45 farmers attending.
The project was supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

Stock containment areas building farm diversity and profitability

Mallee farmer Alistair Murdoch says a new stock containment area on his property is building more diversity and profitability into his operation as well as improving the overall health of his business.
The Australian Government provided funding under the National Landcare Programme for stock containment areas on mixed farms in the Mallee, to protect vegetation cover and improve long term farm sustainability and productivity.   The areas hold, feed and water livestock during adverse seasonal conditions and aim to help retain vegetation cover and protect soil from wind erosion.
The 2015 Mallee Dryland Sustainable Agriculture Incentive Program, overseen by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority, provided subsidies of $2000 to help offset the costs of constructing and servicing stock containment facilities.
Alistair Murdoch has recently completed a 70 metre by 80 metre stock containment area, which is internally divided into four separate holding areas, on his property at Kooloonong, between Swan Hill and Robinvale. The facility has a capacity for 1500 head of sheep, but Alistair expects the usual holding to be around 500 head.
“Our farm has been focussed on an intensive cropping program in the past, but last year we moved back into livestock for the first time in a long time,” Alistair said.
“We had a failed lupin crop as a result of frost and we felt rather than baling it and removing the residue we were better to use the failed crop to run livestock.  It was timely because we also had a desire to add a bit more diversity to our farming enterprise,” he said.
“It means we can take the livestock off the paddocks before residue levels are reduced because the livestock enterprise needs to be complementary, not counterproductive, to our cropping program,” he said.
“Stock have always been perceived as a compromise in the intensive, no-till operation.  But this is a way to manage the compromise by being able to take the lambs out of the paddocks when we need to.”

Pictured: An operational stock containment area
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