Water quality key to healthy Gippsland Lakes

Improving water quality flowing into the Gippsland Lakes is an important part of improving the overall health of the Lakes.

Through Victorian State Government funding, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, will be working with farmers in the Macalister irrigation area to keep nutrients and sediments on farm.

WGCMA’s Land Team Leader, Shayne Haywood, said keeping nutrients on farm could help protect local waterways and ultimately the Gippsland Lakes.

“The Macalister irrigation area is important for primary production, water supply and tourism,” said Mr Haywood.

“It includes high value dairy farms, horticulture, beef and sheep farms as well as the potable water supply and reservoirs for Maffra, Sale and a number of smaller towns.

“By reducing the amount of nutrients and sediments washed into waterways from farms, we can help improve the health not only of those rivers, but ultimately the Gippsland Lakes,” Mr Haywood continued.

The project, called CORE 4, aims to rebalance nutrient application across the farm; recover and reuse nutrient and effluent; retain sediment and nutrients on farm and through these actions restore the health of local wetlands, waterways and the Gippsland Lakes.

There are about 360 dairy farming businesses in the project area.

Work done as part of the CORE 4 project will help improve water quality in local waterways and ultimately the Gippsland Lakes.

“The CORE 4 program supports farmers to update this infrastructure or get advice on how they can do things better,” continued Mr Haywood.

“It’s sometimes a case of ‘’you don’t know what you don’t know’ and having the support of farm plan and agricultural specialist can make a big difference.”

Across just 16 South Gippsland farms, the CORE 4 program helped farmers retain 2,931 kg of phosphorous and 16,060 kg of nitrogen on farm annually. This is the equivalent of almost one and a half semi-truck loads of fertiliser each year.

This is one of 16 projects sharing in $3.1 million in state government funding to improve the health of the Gippsland Lakes.