There’s been a big win for biodiversity across the region, with Nature Conservation Margaret River Region delivering more than $60,000 in grants to landholders for vital conservation work on their properties.

The conservation work in the past year includes controlling invasive weeds, fencing of remnant bushland, and revegetation to restore biodiversity on properties in key spots like wildlife corridors and river catchments.

Grants for landholders are part of the conservation group’s For Nature Landowner Stewardship Program, designed to inspire, educate and assist locals to boost the conservation values of their garden, property and surrounding bushland. Landowners apply for grants on a cost-share basis, matching the grant money dollar for dollar with cash or their own labour.

Now in its third year, the grants program handed out $62,000 in the past 12 months to 27 landholders, achieving some fantastic results. That included private landholders Lucy and Stuart McFerran, who live on a rural property in the Margaret River catchment linking sections of remnant forest. They received assistance for fencing and weed control to stop the spread of aggressive blackberries.

Nikola Chaves and Brock Haydinger, the caretakers of Harmony Forest Cottages and Lakeside Lodge at Forest Grove, received funding to fight woody weeds like Sydney golden wattle and Sweet Pittosporum from high-quality bushland. These species can spread rapidly and outcompete native plants.

The couple, who also run guided possum night walks, have controlled feral animals and built nest boxes to care for critically endangered Western Ringtail possums on the property, which includes almost 60ha of remnant bush and is part of an important wildlife corridor. “It’s so inspiring to see the native fauna returning to the property and we want to do everything we can to give them a helping hand,” Nikola says.

Meanwhile, family-owned grower and wine producer Clairault Streicker received funding to help fence and protect part of a 85ha area of remnant jarrah, marri, banksia and peppermint forest at the head of three separate catchments at Wilyabrup. The fencing precedes more planned planting and revegetation.

Senior vineyard manager Chris Gilmore says his team has a responsibility to preserve and boost the biodiversity and environmental integrity of the area, and they’re working hard to protect bushland and water sources, boost water quality in the catchment, and plant out wildlife corridor to link bushland.

At old Karridale, Nature Conservation’s grants helped fund a collaborative project with four landholders, the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and Main Roads to control Dolichos pea, an invasive climber.

For Nature program officer Peta Lierich says the grant winners were carefully chosen to ensure the biggest and best environmental wins for waterways, wildlife corridors and healthy bushland. With 70 per cent of land in the Margaret River region privately owned, she says local residents play a key role in protecting biodiversity.

As part of the program, cost-sharing arrangements are also available for landholders to have a biodiversity assessment and plan made for their property, which is crucial for understanding the values, threats and actions needed on their properties.

Registering with For Nature is free and comes with other benefits including free equipment hire, workshops and resources.

For Nature is proudly supported by funding from the West Australian Government’s State Natural Resources Management Program, the Water Corporation and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River.

Photo: Nikola Chaves and Brock Haydinger, the caretakers of Harmony Forest Cottages and Lakeside Lodge.