Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare is again engaging with blueberry farmers to help improve their farming practices. This year the project title is ‘Soil erosion mitigation & riparian works for horticulture (blueberry) farms in the Hearnes Lake Catchment’. The project is targeting soil loss on horticulture farms in the Hearnes Lake catchment. This is in response to recent research by Southern Cross University that has shown that there are significant inputs of sediment and dissolved nitrates entering the lake as a result of the establishment and operation of intensive horticulture in the Houps Gully and Double Crossing Creek sub catchments at Sandy Beach.

CHRL have received $60K in funding from NCLLS to carry out this project. The funding source is Catchment Action NSW. Seven blueberry farms in the Sandy Beach area have been engaged in this project with funded on ground works including erosion gully remediation, creek bank protection and on farm road and drainage improvement. Weed control to protect remnant vegetation and allow revegetation has also taken place on three farms. Revegetation of riparian areas and erosion remediation sites is also a component of this project.

A field day was held in April 2019 at one of the participating farmer’s property. Guest speakers presented on the topic ‘Soil loss – causes, impact and prevention’ as well as nutrient management and waste removal. The Oz Group Co op provided two of the speakers.  A tour of the on ground works completed on the farm were also part of the program.