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A holistic approach to seep management for preventing land degradation in the landscape.

Funding: National Landcare Program, Grains Research Development Corporation, SA Murray Darling Basin NRM Board
Year: 2018-2022

Mallee Seeps are areas where perched groundwater reaches the surface, typically in low lying areas across the farm. They are a problem because the soils become waterlogged, and eventually salinized if left unmanaged, killing off vegetation and making the land unproductive. Over the next 10 years up to 22,500 ha of Mallee farmland could be seriously affected by seeps.

Seeps have increased in the last 10 years and are likely due to best practice that has encouraged farmers to prevent summer weeds coupled with climate variability driving very high rainfall late in the season and over summer. Farmers also identify that poor water use on low fertility sands during the season has led to new seeps appearing in both mid-slope and swale areas.

This project will manage seeps by:
1. Detecting them early with innovative remote sensing to identify areas at high risk for seep formation
2. Preventing seep formation by demonstrating the best high water use options for different land systems
3. Remediating existing seeps by delivering a decision support tool that will help farmers identify and apply the best treatment for their particular area.

A seeps research site has been established at Lameroo in SA and Speed in Victoria.