Creek flats restoration at Boolambayte

From paddock to creek flat swamp forest

Creek flats restoration at Boolambayte

From paddock to creek flat swamp forest

Capacity to Deliver -

LEP 026 003-02

The issue

Boolambayte Creek is a small catchment running into Boolambayte Lake, the middle section of the RAMSAR listed Myall Lakes System. Its creek flats have been historically cleared and drained for grazing with impacts on habitat and water quality. Fragmentation of grazing land into smaller rural lifestyle blocks is making grazing this area non-viable as well as ecologically damaging. For landholders choosing to restore former grazing land into functioning bush, natural regeneration can be very slow and challenging in the face of altered hydrology, soil degradation and vigorous exotic grasses.

The solution

Geoff and Lousie Winestock removed cattle from their 15ha property on the Boolambayte Creek floodplain, and reduced slashing to the minimum required for Asset Protection Zones and access. They observed strong natural regeneration near the creek, but the front paddock struggled, with removal of disturbance leaving it a 99% monoculture of rank Setaria. The only natural regeneration was occurring either very close the edges of bush remnants, or in the wettest areas close to the drains.

Funding was successfully sought through Local Land Services’ “Dig It” program via MidCoast 2 Tops Landcare Connection, to restore the front paddock and to create a wet, vegetated habitat corridor through the paddock, which with ongoing regeneration work can in time restore the whole 6ha paddock.

The impact

The rehydration of the paddock through targeted earthworks, combined with supplemental irrigation by the landholders helped plantings through a challenging dry Spring, before a nice wet Autumn. The paddock is slowly coming along with a diversity of plantings focused around a chain of increasingly permanent ponds recreated by the earthworks.

Ongoing assisted natural regeneration and more plantings supported by MidCoast Council's Koala Safe Spaces program, mean the 6ha paddock will be restored to its natural swamp forest state.

This project provides an interesting example for properties with similar challenges and aspirations. Three properties in the Boolambayte neighbourhood were among participants in a field day showcasing it this June


In restoring a heavily altered landscape, carefully targeted earthworks can be efficient and effective.

Project funding time constraints can lead to challenging planting establishment, but with the appropriate site preparation and follow-up the results are still good

Exotic grass competition requires aggressive management

Key facts

  • 6 drains approx. 1km total length rehydrated
  • 1500 local provenance trees planted
  • Approx 6ha project site, approx. 2.5ha actively planted out