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Frogs on farms/Healthy dams workshop

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People often assume that Australia’s threatened species are found mostly in our protected National Parks, however many populations of threatened frogs live predominantly on privately owned farms. Dr David Hunter, OEH Threatened Species Officer, spoke to a small audience of local landholders at a recent workshop in Book Book about the importance of providing on-farm habitat to ensure the survival of threatened frog species.

Dr David Hunter

Dr Dave Hunter presents at the frogs on farms workshop.

The workshop was part of Murrumbidgee Landcare's project, Getting it right: flood mitigation that balances environmental, production and infrastructure needs. The project is a collaboration between Tarcutta Valley Landcare and Kyeamba Valley Landcare and has attracted funds from Qantas through Landcare Australia.

The rapid decline, and in some cases the extinction, of many species of Australian frogs is primarily due to disease caused by an exotic amphibian fungus. Providing suitable habitat to allow frogs to complete all stages of their lifecycle is crucial to their survival.

The Booroolong Frog lives in permanently flowing streams with rocky banks, where it lays eggs between rock crevices. Removing stock from these areas will protect the important rock crevices, reducing erosion from trampling. Other species require dams with clean, clear water and aquatic vegetation growing in the water.

Native vegetation expert Alison Elvin spoke about how to turn a muddy farm dam into a healthy ecosystem that provides critical habitat while also benefiting stock production with cleaner, healthier water. Restricting stock access to only a small section of the dam, or piping water to troughs, is an important first step. This allows vegetation to establish around the dam, reducing bank erosion. Fencing off the drainage line above the dam allows wetland species such as rushes to establish in the inflow area. This area acts as a filter which strips sediment, nutrients and bacteria from water flowing into the dam, resulting in much cleaner, healthier water which in turn improves stock production. Logs, rocks and other litter placed around the margin of a dam provide cover for frogs, fish and other wildlife.

Alison Elvin
 “Mess is best”. Alison Elvin explaining how to enhance farm dams to provide better water quality for stock while also improving habitat for native wildlife.

This workshop was held at “The Reefs” property, Book Book, on 20 March 2013.

Landcare AustraliaQantas Foundation

Regional Landcare Facilitator project

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Dr. Radut Consulting