NRM top tips - December: 12 awesome examples of cotton biodiversity stewardship

December brings to a close the year-long program of NRM top tips, in alignment with our 2019 CottonInfo cotton calendar. So, in this month's blog, CottonInfo Technical Lead for Natural Resources Stacey Vogel, shares with you her top 12 cotton industry examples of good biodiversity stewardship.

1. For the past 20 years, the Macquarie Cotton Growers Association, in partnership with Narromine and Warren Shire Councils and NSW DPI Fisheries, have been undertaking fingerling (young native fish) releases to help restore native fish populations within the Macquarie River. Pictured: the Macquarie Cotton Growers Association fingerling release.

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2. “I might not be managing the storage for birds and other fauna, but the fact they are there is great, all the better for our farm,” Pip Swansbra, Moree. Pictured: Pip.

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3. Providing artificial tree hollows for hollow dependent native wildlife. Pictured: Anna Madden, Wee Waa.

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4. The Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCG&IA) in partnership with Fitzroy Partnership for River Health (FPRH) and Central and Highlands Science Centre (CHSC) participated in water quality monitoring training and data collection, contributing towards the Fitzroy Basin's Reef Report Card as part of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan. Pictured: CHCG&IA president Emma McCullagh (right) with representatives from FPRH & CHSC.

5. Encouraging natural regrowth along creeks to improve on-farm riparian health. Pictured: former manager of Auscott Midkin, Moree, Sean Boland.

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6. Working towards carbon neutral cotton farms, understanding how existing native vegetation can offsets farm emissions. Pictured: Daniel Khal, Wee Waa.

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7. Protecting the Gywdir “raft”, a mass of instream wood that moves around depending on the flow. The “raft” provides an important instream geomorphological feature and aquatic habitat. Pictured: Cotton grower Peter Norrie, Moree with ecologist Dr Stephen Balcombe

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8. Planting native trees and shrubs for multiple on farm benefits, such as increased on-farm biodiversity, windbreaks and habitat for natural pest control. Pictured: Geoff O'Neil, Bald Hill

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9. Restoring riparian areas on farm for increased biodiversity including natural predators which contribute towards Integrated Pest Management. Pictured: Jamie Grant, Dalby.

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10. Restoring riverine areas using management techniques such as strategic grazing to manage weeds and increase native groundcover. Utilising areas of native vegetation for Integrated Pest Management. Pictured: Andrew Watson, Boggabri. 

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11. Linking existing remnant vegetation patches to create corridors through the landscape for koala’s and other wildlife. Pictured: Scott McCalman, Mullaley.

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12. Building capacity amongst local landholders in cotton landscapes to take a co-ordinated approach to feral animal control. Pictured: Cotton growers Johann Osthuizen and Sam Powell from the Bugilbone Ridge Feral Pig Management group with Local Land Services staff.

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