Six per cent of land within the Avon River Basin is impacted by salinity. However, restored saline riparian zones can become a valuable resource.
While some areas are naturally saline, much land around previously fresh waterways has become increasingly salty since agriculture became the dominant land use in the region.
The riparian zone of waterways has either been cleared to make way for agriculture or declined in health because of secondary salinity driven by widespread land clearance.
Degraded waterways or those lacking a functional riparian zone are costly and can result in:
- Increased erosion
- Lower water quality
- Poor soil health
- Loss of habitat
- Algal blooms, and;
- Loss of amenity.
However, we can capitalise on degraded waterways that are likely to be unproductive for farming by restoring saline riparian areas.
This can deliver the following benefits for a property:
- Reduced erosion
- Trapping sediments and nutrients from leaving the land
- Increased farm biodiversity
- Habitat for native fauna
- Connecting remnants in fragmented landscapes
- Improving property aesthetics and amenity
- Increased capital value of property
- Providing shade and shelter for stock
- Improved soil quality
- Wind-breaks for crops, and;
- Reduced groundwater recharge and rising water tables.
A range of native salt tolerant perennial species can be grown successfully in saline riparian areas when coupled with condition specific site preparation techniques like mounding, weed control and fencing.
This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.