Sunny skies, abundant wildflowers and little wind greeted participants of the Hill River Catchment Bus Tour last Sunday.
The tour began by visiting Blackarrow Agriculture on Jurien East Road and NACC’s Jurien Bay, Natural Resource Management Officer Rodger Walker introduced the day’s first guest presenter.
As attendees stood on the Lesueur faultine crest of the highest hill of this cropping and grazing property, Farm Manager Clint Wardle gave an overview of the farming operation, its challenges and successes.
Department of Agriculture and Food Senior Soils Officer Ted Griffin then gave an overview of the landscape geology and its patterns in the rocks and soils of this area.
From there the tour wound its way through Marri and Wandoo scenery and headed up Banovich Road which corresponds closely to the position of the Warradarge Fault.
Stopping at a gravel pit, local farmer and flora expert Don Williams gave an entertaining account of the area’s flora systems.
As Don put so well, he said: “People can fudge figures but you can’t fudge the fact that this area has the world’s highest density of plant species”.
His talk was followed by an overview of national park and reserve management by Department of Parks and Wildlife Ranger Paul Robb.
Then it was off to the incredibly scenic Coomallo Creek crossing on Banovich Road to hear from Mike Johnson and Joel Vernon from the Department of Water on the aquatic ecology of the area.
Participants were able to inspect the sampled macroinvertebrates and ask questions on aquatic life, wetland habitats and issues of concern.
After lunch at Coomallo rest area, the bus made a series of stops along the way to an Aquaculture Farm, Groundwater Monitoring Bores and Lateritic heathland, to hear from the day’s passionate speakers.
The day last stop was at Vera and Gordon Dodd’s farm on Spring Hill Road for afternoon tea and an overview of the farm and pasture systems by Gordon. Neighbour Kim Hammarquist also gave participants an insight into the running of this award winning Dorper Stud at Lynkm Springs.
Overall the day achieved its aim of bringing local community members and environmental professionals together to share information and explore the unique landscape of this area. Although collectively we know a lot about the area, there is still much to discover, monitor, celebrate and utilise sustainably into the future in this diverse catchment.
NACC thanks all attendees and speakers on the day, landholders for permission to visit their properties and the support of the Department of Agriculture and Food, Department of Parks and Wildlife and Department of Water to the day’s success.
This event forms part of NACC’s Biodiversity Program community engagement activities, supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
To hear more about NACC’s community events and work refer http://www.nacc.com.au/.
To learn more about event, the Hill River catchment and the opportunity to be involved in the Hill River estuary monitoring project please contact the NACC Jurien office on 9652 0872.