Mount Worth and Districts Landcare Group

Mount Worth Landcare members at the Community Garden Trail sign

Meet a Landcare Group utilising the different skills to reduce erosion entering the Tarwin and Latrobe catchments

The Mount Worth and Districts Landcare group is located south of Warragul, on the steep slopes of the Western Strzelecki Ranges, next to the Mount Worth State Park.

This area is home to a mix of dairy, beef and sheep farmers and lifestyle properties. The group has around 30 members from a mix of backgrounds, from long-term farmers to newly arrived lifestylers. As the area has no corner shop or central hub, Landcare has become and an important reason for landholders to band together for common goals, to socialise and share skills.

The Landcare group boundary incorporates the headwaters of three important catchments, Westernport, Tarwin and Latrobe. Land in the area is very steep and has been extensively cleared. Recent changes in rainfall have caused a noticeable increase in landslips, increasing the sediment eroding into catchments and reducing available farmland. A recent community survey has found 32 properties had landslips.

The group has repaired the degraded environment through revegetation of many gullies and landslips in the area. They have done this by successfully receiving several grants for revegetation projects in the area. This has included a $42,000 Australian Government Caring for our Country Community Landcare grant and $20,000 from the Victorian Government “Celebrating Twenty-five years of Landcare” grant. Much of the repair work involved revegetation with local plant species.

Group members volunteered to assist with revegetation activities, with five community planting days held last year. This has also had a great deal of on-farm benefit by improving stock management, keeping nutrients on farm and reducing further erosion.

In order to further improve the outcomes from these plantings, the group has taken advantage of group member’s less traditional Landcare skills.

“We utilise everyone’s skills whether it be traditional Landcare skills like plant identification or personal and professional skills such as photography, accountancy, computer and design. It’s all helpful to get our group working to follow best practice where we can” said member Rosemary Kennedy.

For example, in order to showcase 10 years of revegetation works in the area, members were able to fly a drone to take aerial videos of the groups work. This was also undertaken in order to showcase ten years of the group’s work and to prioritise future works.

“We’re also progressively moving towards evidenced-based practice to measure the impact of our Landcare activities in the district” says Rosemay. “In 2014, we started a process to collect photographic evidence over time of Landcare projects under any grants we have received. This information will record a visual record of changes.”

“We have also started collecting bird photos on our website from our local area to record the diversity of bird life we have in our area. We are fortunate to have contact with Cara Brammar, a local PhD student who has been researching the return of birds in revegetation sites in our area, which is also increasing our knowledge.

“It is amazing the skills and knowledge that are within our group and the willingness of members to embrace and mentor new landowners and Landcare and sustainable farming practices in the Strzelecki hills.”

The Mount Worth and Districts Landcare group was one of five Landcare group recipients showcased as part of the 2015 Landcare in West Gippsland Green Carpet event. The group is always welcoming new members. For further information about Mount Worth and Districts Landcare Group contact Rosemary Kennedy.

Mt Worth and District Landcare Group members
Gullies revegetated by Mount Worth and Districts Landcare Group