A GROUP of Corowa farmers who have rehabilitated ‘paper laneways’ on their farms say it is a win-win situation for landholders, the government and the environment.
The Restore and Rehabilitate Priority Paper Laneways in the Corowa Shire project focused on turning paper laneways, which are old road reserves owned by Crown Lands, into corridors dedicated towards rehabilitating native vegetation, and according to NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen, it has been a complete success.
Mr Schoen, who grows cattle, fat lambs and crops on his 1600-hectare property, is one of five landholders who took part in the project.
These farmers, through the Corowa and District Landcare group, applied for funding under the NSW Environmental Trust’s Restoration and Rehabilitation program, and the group, with the support of Corowa Shire Council, received a grant of $98,030, to support more than $90,000 of local in-kind contributions.
Mr Schoen said the landholders supplied the manpower to fence off laneways and plant trees, while the fencing materials, seeds and tube stock for trees was supplied through the grant.
Around 13 kilometres of fencing was completed, which aims to protect more than 41ha of endangered Allocasuarina luehmannii woodland and White Box, Yellow Box and Blakely’s Red Gum woodland. More than 600 tube stock and 7.2 kilograms of native seed were planted.
Mr Schoen said the landholders were able to join the corridors with sections of remnant bushland, and were allowed to adjust boundaries of the corridors to suit existing fencelines in some cases.
“There was a lot of give and take,” he said.
He said landholders could also use the corridor as a windbreak to protect stock.
Mr Schoen said the fencing and planting took place four years ago, and he has noticed an increase in wildlife in the corridors.
“It was one of the most brilliantly thought-out projects to increase vegetation in rural areas,” he said.
Murray Local Land Services (LLS) senior land services officer Natasha Lappin said previously landholders leased these areas from the government, and in some cases, were given the option of buying the land. But this was the first instance in the state where landholders were given the land by the NSW Government.
“The land was gifted to them under the proviso they managed the land for conservation through Property Vegetation Plans,” she said.
The transfer of the land to the landholders is currently taking place.