Horticulture

Paddock tree funding

By Country News

Funding is available for farmers to protect scattered paddock trees, as Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Greater Shepparton City Council work together to preserve the region’s native vegetation.

A study has revealed only three per cent of original vegetation has been retained in the Goulburn Valley, compared with pre-European settlement.

Goulburn Broken CMA land health co-ordinator Helen Murdoch said landowners were encouraged to seek funding to preserve their trees.

‘‘We are actively encouraging people to apply for funding and we want landowners to think about the work they could do to look after paddock trees and remnant vegetation on their properties,’’ Ms Murdoch said.

She said farmers and landowners shouldn’t be deterred for fear the application process would be too arduous.

‘‘We’ve worked to make the process as flexible and streamlined as possible.

‘‘We have Goulburn Broken CMA officers and staff through our Landcare networks who will visit properties and sit down with landholders to have a conversation about what they’d like to achieve.’’

Koyuga landowner Kevin L’Huillier watched with sadness as a 300-year-old black box tree slowly died in his front paddock.

‘‘The tree is dead but because we were able to secure funding to fence it off, new trees have been able to germinate and take root around it,’’ Mr L’Huillier said.

‘‘I like to say that the tree still lives, even though it’s come to the end of its life as a grand old paddock tree, it lives on in the new trees around it.’’

Mr L’Huillier said he was motivated to apply for funding due to his firm belief that 30 per cent of his farm should be given over to native plants and wildlife.

■For information about funding, phone Helen Murdoch at Goulburn Broken CMA on 5822 7700 or visit gbcma.vic.gov.au