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As part of the Western Australian Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program, dairy farmers in the Geographe Catchment have received funding to upgrade their dairy effluent systems.

These upgrades are a key component of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways (RGW) program, which aims to reduce the amount of nutrients entering local waterways and Geographe Bay.

 The Geographe Catchment Council recently received an additional $2.1 million funding for the continuation of the RGW program through the Western Australian Government’s Healthy Estuaries WA program.

 Dairy effluent entering waterways like the Geographe (either directly or indirectly through the catchment) contains high levels of nutrients, sediment and pathogens, which can cause significant problems for aquatic ecosystems such as eutrophication, algal blooms, and fish kill events.

 As part of the RGW program, ten dairy farmers received funding incentives to upgrade their systems and develop individual effluent management plans through an accredited system designer, and in turn reduce the level of nutrient run-off from their farms into the Geographe Catchment.

 The upgrades have seen participating farmers implement a range of more effective solutions for managing effluent to suit their individual farms and herd sizes, as well as improve methods of on-farm solids storage to enable the reuse of effluent on pastures.

 A new Dairy Effluent Management Code of Practice has also recently been released by Western Dairy. The new code provides important technical advice to farmers and industry, to assist them in the better management of on-farm effluent.

 Western Dairy is working closely with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), and recently received $400,000 funding (through the Healthy Estuaries WA program) for the implementation of the dairy best management project, including supporting the on-farm implementation of the Dairy Effluent Management Code of Practice.

 With effluent management a significant issue for the dairy industry, Healthy Estuaries WA funding and support from DWER and the local catchment group GeoCatch aims to help local dairy farmers reduce nutrient run-off from their farms, and assist them to meet the required effluent management standards.

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