Year-long project brings Hay Flat creek back to life

A creek at Hay Flat has been brought back to life thanks to 13 months of restoration efforts from a landowner and the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board.

The 2.5ha section of Salt Creek owned by a fifth-generation farming family was fenced off to be protected from stock, the creek was lined with rocks and coir logs, and 2600 local native grasses, midstorey plants, and trees were put in.

These actions have helped to hold the unstable glacial soil together, slow water flow and reduce erosion, therefore saving the topsoil and improving catchment water quality.

Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board chair David Greenhough said this smaller project was part of a wider initiative which he hopes to grow across the Fleurieu Peninsula.

"It's part of an ongoing project in that area - the area has quite degraded riparian zones through the clearing in the late 1800 farming days, where creeks and gullies have eroded," he said.

"We've been engaging with landholders and the community to bring creeks and gullies back to good biodiversity ecological areas."

Mr Greenhough said it was about finding the balance of having the native and natural environment as well as agriculture and production so the community could get the benefits of both.

"In the 1800s it was 'clear land, grow crops, and that's how we feed ourselves' - we didn't understand the intricacies," he said.

"We need productive agriculture land, but we need sustainable vegetation to create shelter belts and habitats."

The section of Salt Creek is already showing signs of healing.

Local plants - including some which haven't been seen in a long time - are regenerating and returning the space to what it had previously been like, improving the environment around it.

"One of the benefits is it's quite close to the road so people can see the change - the majority of these projects are on private land," Mr Greenhough said.

"We want to form partnerships with the community to undertake more of this kind of work."

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