LEAF Project

We have partnered with the Upper Barwon Landcare Network (UBLN) on a joint project L.E.A.F. - Linking Environment and Farms.

The long term vision of the project is to link existing patches of remnant vegetation forming a network of corridors which will eventually join the Otways to the Brisbane Ranges and ultimately to the Great Dividing Range.
The aim is to build on work already completed or underway in the Upper Barwon Catchment using a combination of Landcare plantings with multipurpose productive trees and other forest products in order to optimize a sustainable, productive, diverse and innovative agricultural, ecological and social landscape. The project will build resilience and adaptability in the landscape enabling it, among other things, to better meet the challenges of a changing climate.

The project has received an initial amount of $30,000 in funding from the Norman Wettenhall Foundation to complete a planning and community engagement process. Planning will include the compilation of existing information on remnant vegetation, the quality of remnant vegetation, endangered flora and fauna, existing Landcare and Catchment Management Authority (CMA) plantings, as well as planned plantings and private biodiversity protection and enhancement. A feature of the partnership with the Norman Wettenhall Foundation is a web based mapping system enabling individuals to record their own remnant protection and planting and sightings of flora and fauna. This will allow community members to help significantly increase the information currently available.

The community engagement part of the planning process will take place through existing groups such as local Landcare groups, existing and new Focus Farm groups in order to access people not currently involved. Information will be used from this process to assist groups to establish their own links.
The project will involve a range of partners including CCMA, DSE, DPI, Barwon Water, Local Government, Greening Australia and Trust for Nature.

The first stage of the project will concentrate on the upper Barwon catchment between the Otways along the Barwon River, possibly as far as Inverleigh, by:

Anticipated outcomes of the project include:
Waterways

Reduced sediment and nutrient input leading to an improvement in water quality and habitat for aquatic biodiversity including breeding platypus. Salinity and weed infestation will be decreased.

Connected remnant vegetation
The project aims to enable a greater capacity for birds, plants and animals to move and adapt to changing conditions and use a larger area than previous. This will allow fauna and flora to migrate and increase population sizes, reduce inbreeding and escape from hazards such as fire, drought and climate change.

Farms
The project will provide many productive benefits on farms such as:

People and communities
Local communities will be strengthened as a result of the communication and interaction required for the project. The connection between local communities and urban areas via their involvement in the project will be improved.