2 day Landscape Repair workshop at “Australind” with Cam Wilson

With the new boundaries created by the Local Land Services, we are fortunate to be a part of the South East LLS. The Regional Landcare Facilitator for the South East LLS, Peter Pigott, offered the Upper Lachlan Landcare network funding to assist with a “shovel ready” project. With Erosion high on the priority list for Upper Lachlan landholders and the huge response to the Craig Sponholtz workshops that were held in 2013 it wasn’t a hard decision for the committee to look at further education in this area.

After the “Open Farm” Visit to Margies “Australind” in December last year with Greening Australia to see some of the amazing restoration work that Margie has been undertaking through Landcare, CMA and Greening Australia it became apparent that “Australind” would be the ideal place to host a Landscape repair workshop for local landholders.

Cam Wilson, from Earth Integral, was recommended to run the workshop from the Mulloon Institute and through American Watershed Artisan, Craig Sponholtz. Cam learned what he knows about landscape and water from working for two years with Peter Andrews, and Peter Marshall, and has been influenced, similar to Craig Sponholtz, through the work of Bill Zeedyk “Let the water do the work”.

The most appealing aspect of Cam’s Work is that he is interested in low cost solutions, things that can have an impact and that are achievable using available materials and resources (such as husband, wife and teenage children).

The first workshop was theory based and was held in late march, a basic introduction to understanding erosion processes and some of the low cost techniques that can be used to slow down water moving through the landscape.(notes from the workshop available here) Workshop handouts

Cam demonstrated how leaky weirs of various constructions can hold back the water in the landscape, re-hydrating the surrounding land and allowing the water to slowly filter through the landscape. In big rain events, flood water is slowed and remains suspended in the leaky weirs reducing erosion and prevents sediment from being carried down into the river.

Some of the techniques which were explained in the workshop

  • The Rock ramp rundown- Suitable for treating low-energy, small headcuts.
  • The Log step- Suitable for headwall cuts up to 1m or even greater with machinery.
  • The One rock dam- This is a low grade control structure, aimed at raising the bed of an incised gully.
  • Fascines- From Roman times to the Brits in WWII, fascines have been used by armies to cross gullies due to the availability of materials, ease of construction and solid nature.

The day also included a visit to a few different sites at “Australind” where Margie has been working on over the years with varying success.

The second part of the workshop was held in June which was a hands-on practical day led by a very energetic and enthusiastic Cam Wilson.

The group managed to complete a brush weir and a rock ramp rundown before being hampered by wintery weather conditions.

Cam acknowledged the tremendous work that Margie is doing on her property, he said that although Margie has huge erosion problems to tackle on her property that he has not met anyone who is working harder than Margie on their land management. (we will all agree with that)

Margie will continue to work with Cam on a Greening Australia project that she is working on with Lori Gould. “Australind” will become a great resource for us to see what can be achieved over time. We look forward to more visits.

Feed back from the workshops were extremely positive with much praise for the passion, energy and skills of Cam and his simple and adaptable solutions to such widespread problems. Partipants were also very grateful for Margie and much admiration for all of her passion and energy in what she is putting into her property. And how could I forget to mention the catering by the two Libby’s; couldn’t have been more perfect.

Upper Lachlan Landcare has received funding to conduct further workshops with Cam and are looking at setting up another training site in the Binda area. If you have any erosion concerns I strongly recommend attending a workshop with Cam, and if unable to attend a workshop, get Cam to come for a property visit.

See Earth Integral Website for more info about Cam http://earthintegral.com/ 

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