Landscape Rehabilitation

Landscape Restoration Project

Landscape Rehabilitation

Landscape Restoration Project

Community Participation -


The issue

Hard clay pan soils are an issue across the agricultural landscape and are in evidence across the North West area of NSW. 

Clay pans, as their name suggests, have a high clay content and have a hard almost rock like texture. This texture makes it very resistant to penetration and difficult for vegetation to establish. The hardness of clay pans can result in poor soil aeration and low nutrient availability for plants.

These hard clay pans are unproductive areas for cropping and livestock management as they prohibit vegetation growth. 

The solution

A project was developed to help re-establish vegetation and improve the water holding capacity of hard clay pan soils. The funding for the project comes from an enforcable undertaking (EU) between the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) and Boggabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd. Boggabri Coal were required to fund a community project with a water management focus.

A workshop was hosted in Narrabri where Ray Thompson from Rangeland Rehabilitation gave a presentation of his methodology of surveying the landscape and designing waterponds which contain water after a rain event. He also explained in detail as to the construction of the ponds.

The waterponding technique involves building horseshoe shaped banks to create ponds of about 0.4 ha each. Each pond retains up to 10 cm of water after rain which helps enable soluble salts to be leached from the surface.This improves the remaining soil structure, inducing surface cracking, better water penetration and allows entrapment of wind-blown seed. Consequently, niches are formed for the germination of this (and any sown) seed and recovery of a range of chenopod native pasture species occurs on the sites, which can be supplemented by direct seeding.

The impact

The workshop was attended by landholders, grader operators and representatives from Local Land Services, Natural Resources Access Regulator, and Boggabri Coal.

The landholders and grader operators learned the importance of planning the works and the correct construction of the holding banks of the waterponds. Using the best construction method ensures that the infrastructure built will last for many years and contribute to a positive outcome for the landholder and environment.

The funding acquired for this project has enabled six landholders to participate in some landscape restoration to be undertaken on their properties.

Key facts

  • Clay pan areas reduce productivity.
  • Improving water infiltration helps improve soil structure.
  • Local landholders benefit from regulatory enforcement.

Project Partners