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Goodwood Station: Just add water

Monday, 17th September, 2018

Goodwood’s Louise and Zane Turner stand on one of the many banks they’ve constructed. PICTURE: David Mariuz Goodwood’s Louise and Zane Turner stand on one of the many banks they’ve constructed. PICTURE: David Mariuz

By Myles Burt

Goodwood Station isn’t letting the drought get the better of them as they dig away to restore their local wetlands.

The station near White Cliffs is in the midst of a unique earthmoving project to better utilise water flows by rebuilding the natural wetland.

Station owners Louise and Zane Turner have been installing champagne banks, which have seen much success in South Australia, Western Australia and South Africa.

The banks channel rainfall and creek overflows onto their property, which snakes the water around slowly, decreasing erosion and allowing the water to enrich the soil significantly as it travels through.

“It’s just slowing water, it’s not holding back huge amounts of water,” said Ms Turner.

“It’s just slowing it and enabling it to sink into the soil just that little bit at a time.”

Ms Turner said the new technique has created some scepticism as others worry it’ll hold back water from getting to neighbouring properties. However, Ms Turner said the idea of the project is to decrease the speed of the water that runs through their property while allowing the creeks to flow naturally.

“You’re just manipulating what you have, we’re not stopping anyone else from getting their share of the water that’s coming down the creek,” she said.

“Just manipulating the water that flows out onto Goodwood at the time.

“We tend to get massively high volumes of water when it rains at a really fast pace.

“So it just scours out the landscape.

“It’s the water that spills out of the creek that we’re pretty much trapping on the place.

“It’s not a notion or concept that’s brand new, it’s worked in plenty of other places in Australia and in the world.”

The project has been a carefully curated to their land according to Ms Turner, who has had specialists come out to laser level and measure the land for the build.

“It’s not something we’ve gone and done just because we can,” said Ms Turner.

“It’s all been done properly and we’ve had specialists out there measuring the contours and all that kind of stuff.”

The project was kick-started after Goodwood Station received a $10,000 grant from Local Land Services, helping them to revive the natural wetland and better direct vegetation efforts around the property.

“We’re going to put some seed into there as well so when it rains it grow some grasses and perennials,” said Ms Turner.

“Then use the seed from those plants to then put back into the areas the erosion works are on.

“Then hopefully we’ll get consistent rain once this drought breaks for a little while.

“Everything we grow we’ll then harvest the seed, and put out further onto the property.”

Four other properties in the White Cliffs area joined the project last year under the Local Land Service initiative.

Positive results will not be seen for Goodwood or the other participating stations until much needed rainfalls put the method to work.

Ms Turner hopes the project will bring back native birds and reptiles to the area.

“That’s something we’re looking forward to seeing in the future,” she said.

“It might take another five years to see some fantastic results.

“If it works we can show our kids that the effort that you put into something will reap really good rewards.

“If our kids decide that they want to stay here, then we’ve got something to give to them and they’ve learnt something to carry on in their generation.

“So I’m hoping it’s something that will continue here for many generations to come and then just improve over time.”

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