Kilmany, Pearsondale, Nambrok Landcare Group

The Thomson and Latrobe rivers are generally well known in central Gippsland. However, the 50-kilometre channel network, made up of the ‘Central Gippsland Drain Numbers Two and Three, which connects the two waterways, are less known.

These Drains, managed by Southern Rural Water and collecting run-off from paddocks, have been the focus of the Kilmany, Pearsondale and now Nambrok Landcare Group over the last 18 years.

Founding member, Tom Wallace, remembers the challenge of both starting the then Kilmany, Pearsondale Landcare Group and getting their key project off the ground.

“Our aim was to run a wildlife corridor along the drains from the Latrobe to the Thomson River,” recalls Tom.

“We worked with Southern Rural Water to get approval for the project. The wildlife corridor would help reduce nutrient waste, stop erosion and bring wildlife. Southern Rural Water and the Board agreed and the project started in March 2000.”

The planting, highly visible for those who cross the Kilmany flyover west of Sale, now covers some 15-kilometers of channel bank and has had expected and surprising impacts.

“It was a ‘wind plane’ through there, none of those trees were there. That has helped a lot of the farmers, they could see the benefits from the planting of trees. A lot of them have planted on the western side of their property so that they’ve got a good shelter belt.”

So, what now for the future? If the goal of forming a corridor between the two rivers is to be fulfilled, some 35-kilometres of planting still needs to be done.

Tom has a, perhaps surprising, solution to the problem.

“The future I believe is getting our city cousins out of Melbourne. That might sound crazy, but I believe if we were able to sell to the people of Melbourne, how wonderful it would be to come up to Kilmany, Sale or Rosedale and plant trees to save the environment. We would be organised at our end. They would get a great advantage and be able to tell their kids in the future, ‘we planted those trees.’”

Whether Tom’s ‘fly in fly out’ solution for Landcare locally is successful, the Kilmany, Pearsondale, Nambrok Group is finding new ways to reach its goals by working more as a local broker. Assisting landholders to access grants and other assistance to get work done.

“What we’re doing at the present is going to those landholders who have contributed on other farms and along those drains and saying, ‘it’s our time now to help you’.

“Three or four of our group are putting plantations in and we’re helping them with fencing and that sort of thing.”

“It’s terribly important that those people who have given so much, now get some benefits back and that encourages them to continue on.”

On 30 April the Nambrok Landcare Group was recognised as part of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Green Carpet Landcare Awards.

The Landcare Green Carpet Awards are held every two years to honour and celebrate local Landcare legends who have led the way in improving Gippsland’s environment. This year’s Green Carpet also coincides with the celebration of 30 years of Landcare in Victoria.

The Landcare Green Carpet Awards are funded through the Victorian Government’s Regional Landcare Program.