Members and friends are invited to study these policies and provide advice on improvements and additions.
To iprove the condition of wetlands in farming environments
Background and rationale
Wetlands are naturally occurring depressions in the landscape that periodically hold water. When wet they support an array of macro and micro organisms (plants, animals, invertebrates, insects etc).
A large number of wetlands occur on freehold (private) land; many have been drained for agricultural purposes. Carefully managed wetlands are a national asset. They are important wildlife refuges providing many benefits to farmers and the public.
EFN supports a range of management strategies
- Public benefits to be paid for by the public and private benefits by the landholder. EFN encourages any support that would assist private landholders to more effectively manage wetlands to improve conservation values. This support could be technical, financial, research, labour etc.
- EFN expects wetlands on Crown Land to be managed for a range of outcomes with conservation as the overriding consideration if conflicts occur (eg passive recreation activities preferred to power boating on shallow systems).
- EFN encourages private landholders to consider recreating wetlands where they once occurred naturally. This often can be done with minimal cost.
- EFN supports any review of drainage schemes with the aim reinstating wetlands. Compensation may be needed to support this program.
- Exclude the wetland from the farming operation. Normally this means fencing for stock exclusion while maximising the setback from high water mark (prefer at least 20 metres). Have access to the wetland for management purposes (eg fire fighting, removing unwanted animals, pest plant and animal control).
- Place appropriate signage on access (eg no fertilizer) and have farm plans for contractors that clearly locate the wetland.
- Do not fertilize or physically disturb wetlands and avoid using chemicals near wetlands.
- Use the wetland only as an emergency shelter in bad weather.
- Treat wetlands as a separate land class. Fence and manage to achieve both agricultural and conservation benefit. Graze only when the wetland is dry to minimise wildlife impact preferably with sheep rather than cattle.