Rewards for your stewardship

There are multiple ways to be rewarded for your efforts, including being part of our innovative program to understand your natural capital and access emerging markets

As stewards of the land, you are helping maintain and improve the health of our waterways. Our program helps you access financial rewards for your work, so you no longer have to rely on grants to fund activities such as fencing. There are environmental and social benefits too.

Unlike traditional grant programs, Refreshing Rivers helps you create a profile capturing your on-farm natural capital, providing opportunities for you to improve waterway stewardship.

Natural Capital

The environment that you manage on your land is valuable, and when you invest in looking after it, your work benefits the wider community – through cleaner water, stabilised riverbanks, healthy ecosystems and carbon sequestration.

The value of healthy natural capital and of your stewardship is increasingly recognised by financial markets, policy makers and the wider community.

The Refreshing Rivers Program helps you create a profile capturing your on-farm natural capital, supporting you to improve waterway stewardship and access financial rewards.

Learn more about Natural Capital >>

Ecosystem Services

Improving waterway health has significant environmental and biodiversity benefits, which in turn provide ecosystem services - benefits that we all gain from plants, animals and their interactions in nature. These services provide a significant contribution to agricultural productivity.

Learn more about Ecosystem Services >>

Personal Satisfaction, Wellbeing and Community

Be part of a coordinated network of people, learning from each other and supported to implement best practice. Improving the environment on farms brings enormous personal satisfaction and enjoyment, and has benefits for wellbeing and mental health.

Learn more about Social Benefits >>

Access these rewards through the Refreshing Rivers Program

Our innovative program helps you create a toolbox to capture your on-farm natural capital, providing opportunities for you to improve waterway stewardship. Understand the financial rewards that are currently available, as well as new rewards being made available in this ever-evolving space.

Step 1: Become familiar with this new space

Environmental Markets are a new area we are all learning about. Here are some helpful terms.

Natural Capital

Natural capital is the world's stock of natural assets and includes the rocks and soil beneath our feet, our streams, rivers and oceans, the air, and all living things that provide a flow of benefits or ecosystem services to people.

For more information about Natural Capital:

Ecosystem Services

The benefits delivered by nature, for example carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality improvement, flood mitigation.

Helpful resource: Riparian Ecosystem Services fact sheet from the Water Victoria

Environmental Accounting

A tool for measuring environmental metrics on-farm. Different types of accounting measure different metrics, for example:

  • Natural capital accounting is a tool to measure the changes in the stock and condition of natural capital (ecosystems) at a variety of scales, and to integrate the flow and value of ecosystem services into accounting and reporting systems in a standard way.
  • Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Accounting is a tool for creating a baseline on-farm carbon or emissions account or profile. This will provide a metric of the carbon intensity of commodities such as wool, meat and grain.

Helpful resources:

Environmental Certification

Provided to land managers who meet its environmental standards, environmental certification includes a recognised logo that enables land managers to access premium markets and consumers to differentiate commodities based on their environmental attributes.

Step 2: Create a Natural Capital Profile

Our Project Officers are seeking eligible landholders within our three Target Areas who would like to have a Natural Capital Profile assessment of their farm. This assessment will provide information for landholders to access opportunities and emerging markets.

Your profile may include topics such as:

  • Natural Capital on your farm: types, condition and extent
  • Farm, waterway and natural capital maps
  • Lists of bird species and likely threatened species
  • Waterway condition and water quality information
  • Environmental works history and future plans to improve natural capital
  • Greenhouse gas emissions baseline
  • Carbon emission reduction and sequestration opportunities.

Step 3: Access opportunities and rewards

Once landholders have created a Natural Capital Profile, our program will support landholders to move down an appropriate pathway, and provide assistance to access to financial rewards through environmental markets. Unlike a traditional grant program providing funding for trees and fencing, we can instead equip eligible landholders with the following opportunities:

  • Connection to work crews for fencing, weed control and revegetation
  • Subsidies to undertake further accounting (this could include natural capital accounts, soil carbon profiles or whole farm planning) to access environmental markets opportunities
  • Access to our Refreshing Rivers Program support team
  • In-stream works at priority locations
  • Assistance accessing low interest loans.

In the words of a landholder we are working with:

"There is nothing better for mental health, human mental health, than living in a clean, aesthetically pleasing, and healthy ecosystem."

Environmental benefits and ecosystem services

Improving waterway health is an important part of improving environmental condition and ecological health in farming landscapes. These environmental benefits are significant because they support better ecosystem services, which in turn support agricultural productivity.

Ecosystem services are the benefits that people (and our livestock and crops) gain from plants, animals and micro-organisms in nature interacting together as a self-sustaining ecological system, or ecosystem. Biodiversity – the variety of different species of plants, animals and micro-organisms – is particularly important to ecosystem services.

These ecosystem services include nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, erosion control, pollination, water quality improvement, pest management and flood control, all of which can provide a significant contribution to agricultural productivity on your farm.

Improved environmental condition

Stronger ecosystem services

Supports agricultural productivity

Improved environmental condition

Stronger ecosystem services

Supports agricultural productivity

For example, a fenced waterway that supports healthy and biodiverse vegetation both in and along the waterway will be better able to filter a sudden influx of sediment off a burnt paddock further upstream. This filtration service minimises damage to the waterbody, which could have had serious impacts on water extracted for livestock, domestic use or town water supplies further downstream.

Upper Billabong livestock, waterways and remnant trees

Personal satisfaction, wellbeing and social benefits

Improving waterway health on your farm can have many positive benefits at a personal, social or wellbeing level.

Our conversations with the community show that healthy waterways are highly valued, and the Refreshing Rivers Program provides the opportunity for eligible landholders to be part of securing waterway health for the future.

The Program can connect you with a coordinated network of people, learning from each other and supported to implement best practice. Our Project Officers can work with you to find solutions to current waterway management problems you may have, and are there to assist you with deciding how to act on your farm to improve waterway health.

Many landholders also talk about the positive experience of seeing waterways returned to their former glory, for example through willow removal or revegetation. Others are pleased to know they’ll pass on their farms to the next generation with healthier waterways, while for some being able to go fishing or paddling with the kids at the creek is a reward in itself.

Riverina Highlands landholder with Project Officer, Cherie White

John Keogh with Upper Billabong Project Officer Kylie looking for Southern Pygmy Perch in his fenced waterway

"I’d certainly recommend to other farmers and landholders to take on projects like this. Because if you think about it, you’re fencing off such a small section of your farm, by doing that you’re enhancing your whole farm. You’re actually stabilising banks, you haven’t got the erosion problems that you can have, and you’ve got a lot more control of your livestock. It’s just a great asset to have on the farm, and it’s very special for me knowing that as a kid I used to swim in it."

John Keogh, ‘Yarra Glen’, Upper Billabong

Who can I speak to about a Natural Capital Profile?

Our Project Officers are seeking eligible landholders within our three Target Areas who would like to have a Natural Capital Profile assessment of their farm. If you are interested, please get in touch.

"What I enjoy most about my role is meeting people and being out in the field. I have a passion for agriculture, environment and community, which I carry with me into this role. I think the value of the Refreshing Rivers Program will be seen in action through listening and learning from our community."

Favourite plant or animal: Murray-Darling Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis)

0419 841 834

andrea@refreshingrivers.org.au

Upper Billabong

"We have one of the last populations of Southern Pygmy Perch in the Murray catchment and it has been teetering for the last 10 years. Getting the whole community involved and keeping our creeks and waterways functioning and resilient as our natural and production systems adapt to climate changes, can give these struggling species the fighting chance they need."

Favourite plant or animal: Shield Shrimp (Triops australiensis)

0418 198 522

kylie@refreshingrivers.org.au

Riverina Highlands

"There are not too many jobs where you can physically see the difference you have made. I enjoy working with landholders to design their projects and I love going back and revisiting sites to see how these projects are making a difference to the way landholders manage their land."

Favourite plant or animal: Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

0427 407 126

cherie@refreshingrivers.org.au

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The Refreshing Rivers Program is a collaboration between government, industry, research, and community organisations, led by Local Land Services. This Program has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

The Refreshing Rivers Program works on Country that always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters, and we pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Website developed by the Australian River Restoration Centre