Using voluntary agreements to exclude stock from waterways: an evaluation of project success and persistence

Moore, Harriet Elizabeth and Ian, Rutherfurd D (2019) Using voluntary agreements to exclude stock from waterways: an evaluation of project success and persistence. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Monitoring, 15 (2). pp. 237-247. ISSN 1551-3777

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.4099

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Using voluntary agreements to exclude stock from waterways: an evaluation of project success and persistence
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Abstract

Agriculture is one of the major drivers of ecological degradation in river basins. Excluding stock (cows and sheep) from
grazing riverbanks and accessing rivers is one of the most common river restoration activities. To be effective, stock exclusion must be maintained indefinitely. In Australia, and elsewhere, stock exclusion projects are most commonly implemented by establishing voluntary agreements between landholders and government agencies. This study examined the extent to which landholders in 3 catchment management authority (CMA) regions in southeast Australia maintain stock exclusion from waterways, whether vegetation on riverbanks recovered, and the effectiveness of assessment methods. It was found that nearly half of landholders continue to graze stock on the riverbank. There has been some success with improving the condition of riparian vegetation. Sites with full stock exclusion contain the pre-European abundance of juvenile trees, and sites with continued grazing contain significantly lower abundance of juvenile trees. Establishing the effectiveness of management was made more difficult by the inconsistent methods used by the different CMAs. Stock exclusion projects implemented with voluntary agreements have the potential to succeed if oversight is improved between government agencies and CMAs and between CMAs and landholders. Projects will be easier to assess if regional authorities use consistent methods of assessment. Voluntary agreements are only suitable for environmental management if projects are monitored, maintained, and assessed appropriately.

Keywords:Stock exclusion, Condition assessment, Project management, Voluntary agreements, River restoration
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F810 Environmental Geography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:34843
Deposited On:14 Mar 2019 16:53

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