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Keywords:

  • Chenopod shrublands;
  • revegetation;
  • roadgrader construction

Summary  Building on previous trials initiated in the 1960s, a demonstration programme involving 18 landholders was established at Nyngan, New South Wales Australia; in the mid-1980s to refine ‘waterponding’ techniques used to rehabilitate scalded claypans. The waterponding technique involves building horseshoe shaped banks (about 240 m in length) to create ponds of about 0.4 ha each. Each pond retains up to 10 cm of water after rain which leaches soluble salts from the scald 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.

What started as a project continues now as a standard rangeland rehabilitation process for reclaiming bare, scalded semi-arid areas of New South Wales and turning them back into biodiverse and productive rangelands. Since 1985, further modifications have been made to the method and the ongoing programme has surveyed, marked out and built approximately 56 700 waterponds within the Marra Creek waterponding district.