8.3.1.Management of water on a bush or lifestyle block
Many rural blocks have wetlands of some kind — a dam, a creek, that boggy patch down in the far corner. These areas can be a wonderful habitat for wildlife and aesthetically pleasing as well as a source of water for farm activities.
Water quality depends on what is happening further upstream or in the surrounding catchment area.
If the catchment area is not used for livestock or horticultural purposes, the simplest way to improve and maintain water quality is to revegetate your wetlands. This involves planting a variety of suitable reeds, sedges and rushes at water edges, grasses and shrubs on the banks. These help remove extra nutrients from the water, improving water quality, and create habitat for wildlife.
Consider the whole water catchment area, both upstream and downstream. Actions you take will affect the water quality for others further downstream.
For blocks with dams rather than running water on it, grasses and shrubs around the dam banks are also useful to filter out soil particles, animal droppings and fertiliser before the water reaches the dam and becomes stagnant. In the wider catchment area, clearing trees and understorey plants increases soil erosion, which then fills the dam with silt.
For further information on creating healthy farm dams see Farming Ahead June 2012 (no. 245) pp58-60, obtained by telephoning 1800 677761 or going to Kondinin Group.