Helping hand for landholders making a difference

In the picturesque town of Peachester, a grazing property is gradually being shaped into a more sustainable setting for both agriculture and wildlife.

Helping hand for landholders making a difference

With a lot of elbow grease and a little help from Sunshine Coast Council’s landholder environment grants, the owners are delivering on a long-term plan to protect a creek running through their property and the threatened species that call it home.

And from July 10, the Environment Levy funded grants will open once again for expressions of interest for the 2023 funding round.

Rural landowners can apply for financial help to complete on-ground environment projects on their private property.

Grants of up to $15,000 are available for projects including bush regeneration, reducing sediment loss on farms, excluding stock from waterways, controlling environmental weeds, modifying non-boundary fencing to make it wildlife friendly, revegetating degraded areas, and to establish vegetation corridors and buffer zones.

Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the grants were funded by the Environment Levy and delivered on Council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy objectives.

“Year on year, the Landholder Environment Grants continue to support rural property owners to restore their properties and Council is very proud to be a partner in their success,” Cr Suarez said.

“One success story is an 80-hectare beef cattle grazing property in Peachester that has received grant funding for the last two years.

“The landholders have contributed their own labour as well as funds towards the total project cost and I congratulate them for the quest to improve their local environment.”

Previously the cattle would drink from the creeks and shelter under the trees along the creek, causing bank erosion and tainting of the water.

The owner’s goal was to improve the water quality downstream and protect the threatened plants – such as Helicia ferruginea (Rusty Helicia), Syzygium hodgkinsoniae (Red Lilly pilly), Pararistlochia pravenosa (Richmond Birdwing Vine) – and wildlife – such as Giant Barred-frog andRichmond Birdwing Butterfly – that live along the creek banks.

To do this, they’ve fenced the waterway, installed hardened cattle crossings and off-stream watering points.

They’ve also been tackling weeds in the fenced areas.

Thanks to this project, the water quality is improving and the threatened species living along the banks are protected.

Cr Suarez encouraged rural landholders to check the guidelines on Council’s website to see if their project was eligible.

“The grants are a competitive process and priority will be given to projects with high ecological value and those which have good landowner co-contribution,” she said.

“Last year 60 recipients shared in $325,000 under the Landholder Environment Grants program.

“The Landholder Environment Grants help rural property owners enhance their beautiful slice of the Sunshine Coast, which benefits the biodiversity of our whole region.”

Only private rural landholders can apply, and the project must occur on privately owned rural land within the Sunshine Coast Local Government area.

Applying is a three-stage process:

1.         Expressions of Interest open July 10, 2023. Submit an Expression of Interest before August 14, 2023.

2.         Site visit from a council Conservation Partnerships Officer to assess the project and provide any additional guidance.

3.         Apply online before October 10, 2023.

The total grant funding pool available is $325,000.

Please read the Landholder Environment Grant Guidelines for more information.