Here we are at the beginning of April, we are usually sitting around a small campfire with the earth slowly softening and breathing around us as new shoots turn the paddocks green. This year we are watching swathes of native trees die and dams dry to boggy mud puddles, then disappear altogether.

It’s something we have been talking about for years, living in an area where rainfall decline is the greatest of anywhere in Australia, but still there is difference between knowing and experiencing, or, a difference between experiencing gradual change and experiencing harsh, unrelenting, in your face change.

While I worry daily about water for people and gardens and livestock a deeper pressing concern is for our forests, our rivers and our native flora and fauna. This precious corner that is recognised globally as a Biodiversity Hot Spot is suffering the impact of being loved to death while trying to cope with a drying climate. For me, this translates to a greater responsibility than ever to restore life into our environment, to create oases and to protect what is left of our natural ecosystems.

This year our focus is on the small winter creek and wetland area that flow through Fair Harvest and the family farm,  this is part of the Mokidup (Ellensbrook) catchment.

Large swathes of the creek have been previously cleared for water catchment and livestock, while timber and rocks have been harvested for construction.  More recently, Eastern states Eucalyptus and Acacias have moved in from the timber plantation while  South African grasses and sedges dominate the water ways .

Our goats grazing in the creek line (area now fenced of for rehabilitation)

Fortunately an area in the centre of the farm was left relatively uncleared, and this beautiful sanctuary has provided us with a window into how the creek once was. This area has been protected by my family and was the reason my parents fell in love with and bought the property in the 80’s. Since then they have fenced it off from livestock, carried out weed management (arum lilies, sodom apple, woody weeds) and implemented pest control (cats and foxes). It has been loved for family picnics, bush walks and retreats and is a place of refuge for wildlife and humans alike.


A little further down where the creek hasn’t been cleared

Nature Conservation Margaret River has been an immense help over the years and is doing a great job of educating the public about the care for our precious environment. This year they have assisted us in developing a plan for the rehabilitation of the creek as well as providing financial help..THANK YOU!

This January one of our Permaculture Design Course projects focused on the creek rehabilitation, applying permaculture principles and making use of all available resources to create a design including plants species, water flow, weed management,  wildlife habitat and education.

Permaculture Course students discussing the project

Permaculture Course students discussing the project

Permaculture principles applied to the project

While our initial intention was to focus the rehabilitation from the healthiest areas (Bradley method) we realised that the area around the dams where we have done some recent earthwork is prime for planting. This decision was made  with  the  help  from  Nature Conservation Margaret River and we have commenced preparation work  (specifics described in following post). This will become stage one of the project, just be the beginning of the rehabilitation of nearly a kilometre of creek line that flows through the farm to join up with Mokidup.


Recent earth works and a dry dam

So while we wait for the rain we are getting to work preparing for planting, please read the Riparian Zone Project to see what we have been doing on the ground, and if you want to get involved, check out the Riparian Zone Course we are offering in May, where you can come and camp, learn more and get involved with all aspects of the project.

Thank you Sally Elliot and the Riffles Project team for the beautiful artwork



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