As farming communities face growing pressure to meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) demands in supply chains, a new perspective emerges. Could all the natural and man-made advantages of our productive inland river delta attract not just income, but a large premium in the emerging environmental goods and services markets? This biodiverse hotspot, acting as a significant carbon sink through on-farm wetlands and an advanced gravity-fed irrigation system, might just be Australia’s prime site for carbon and biodiversity investment.
And there is only one way to find out. Western Murray Land Improvement Group (WMLIG) is co-designing a ‘product’ that has the potential to capture our region’s unique competitive advantage.
Western Murray farmers, with the support of WWF-Australia, invited Barapa Barapa representatives and experts in various fields such as environmental markets, landscape rehydration, archaeology, forestry, and wetland restoration to come together. Their mission is to co-design a ‘hydrated biolink’, the River Country Biolink, to maximise economic, social and natural benefits.
The focus is on crafting a product for competitive advantage; a carbon sequestering wildlife corridor extending from the Wakool to the Murray rivers with a lagoon at the heart of it.
WMLIG is inviting farmers to join them on August 29 at their River Country Biolink event to hear about the project’s progress, some of the unique insights the co-design group have discovered and a new grant available to assist Western Murray farmers in their own successful environmental markets project.
Key points to be covered include:
- New Grants: WMLIG members can tap into grants of up to $10,000 per landowner. Thanks to the NSW Primary Industry and Productivity Abatement Program (PIPAP) and the Regen Farmers Mutual, Western Murray farmers have the opportunity to leverage grants and advisory services to co-design aggregated projects and take them to an environmental market transaction.
- Aggregated Projects: The group explores how collaborative efforts offer selling power and multiple benefits.
- Regen Farmers Mutual: WMLIG spotted the potential in the mutual’s ‘by the farmer, for the farmer’ ethos and has been involved in its development from an early stage. The co-founder of the only Australian farmer-owned environmental markets broker, Andrew Ward, will speak about the biolink and exciting opportunities ahead.
- Rehydration at the heart of high value projects: The benefits of landscape rehydration and restoration techniques extend beyond sustainability, enhancing profitability and resilience. The United Nations-endorsed techniques of the Mulloon Institute are a key part of the biolink design. Mulloon Institute CEO Carolyn Hall will discuss how landscape rehydration enhances outcomes and mitigates risk for environmental market projects.
- Cultural Insights: Barapa Barapa knowledge and archaeological findings shed light on the exceptional environmental and social worth of our region.
When: August 29, 2023, 9.45am morning tea for 10am start
Where: Western Murray Land Improvement Group office, Murray Connect, 27 Thule Street, Barham.
Cost: $0 for 30+ participants
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 24 August 2023.