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State Government support for Wheatbelt NRM farm bushfire restoration project

Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Land scorched by the bushfire
Camera IconLand scorched by the bushfire Credit: Supplied

Farmers who had remnant bushland or revegetated land scorched by February’s southern Wheatbelt bushfires have the chance to get involved in a local land restoration project.

Wheatbelt NRM, in collaboration with the Facey Group and the Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, was announced as the recipient of a $396,301 State Government grant through the State NRM’s community stewardship grants scheme.

The Wheatbelt team is sharing in $7 million funding alongside 57 other environmental projects announced by the State Government on September 20.

The grant will be used to help fund a restoration project aimed at repairing the conservation and land management efforts that were affected by bushfire.

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“Wheatbelt NRM, Facey Group and Corrigin Farm Improvement Group will support farmers to recover this Wheatbelt landscape by restoring native vegetation for biodiversity conservation and improving ground cover, carbon storage and soil health,” the State NRM project summary said.

“Returning trees and shrubs will restore the natural amenity and support community mental health already impacted by this natural disaster — reviving the community’s sense of place.

“This project will aim to support the community to take positive action to recover their previous conservation efforts.”

Land scorched by the bushfire
Camera IconLand scorched by the bushfire Credit: Supplied

The Corrigin-Shackleton and Wickepin-Narrogin bushfires collectively tore through nearly 60,0000ha across February 5 and 6.

The Corrigin bushfire, which was deemed accidental, was ignited by an authorised stubble burn conducted several days before the fire, according to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The Wickepin-Narrogin fire was also deemed accidental, caused by power lines coming together due to extreme weather conditions, according to DFES.

Local farmers are still waiting to hear the results of the State Government’s official investigation into the cause of the Wickepin-Narrogin blaze eight months after the probe was launched.

Wheatbelt NRM project manager Rebecca Palumbo said previous restoration work was brought undone by the bushfires.

“For many farmers impacted by these bushfires the loss of previous environmental improvements has been disheartening,” she said.

“Farmers in these areas have fenced off remnant vegetation, revegetated problem areas and they generally looked after their land — much of that was impacted.

“This project will assist in restoring some of that previous work.”

Birdwhistle Nature Reserve razed in the fire
Camera IconBirdwhistle Nature Reserve razed in the fire Credit: Isabel Vieira/Narrogin Observer

Ms Palumbo said landholders whose properties fell in the two bushfires zones would be eligible to be involved in the project.

“Through an expression of interest process farmers will be able to apply for support to fence patches of remnant bush and re-plant revegetation areas,” she said.

“The WA environment is amazing and hopefully we are starting to see signs of new shoots.

“This project will assist in protecting these areas in recovery.”

For details, contact the Facey Group or Corrigin Farm Improvement Group.

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