It’s 2030, imagine if…

The River Country Biolink was a regenerative triple win: a natural inland delta, 130 years of tacit knowledge of agricultural water use and over 60,000 years of Barapa Barapa ancestral knowledge. The Biolink project brought mid-Murray River farmers, rehydration experts and Traditional Owners together to co-design a new way of valuing the delta complex on a landscape-scale, rather than by landholder. The community buy-in of diverse and aligned stakeholders created a legacy of stewardship and accountability to the delta system, resulting in enhanced biodiversity, crop yields and cultural preservation. During the droughts of the 2020s the renowned and restored mid-river delta continued to sequester carbon, enhancing the value of the River Country Carbon Credits and Australia’s high integrity Natural Capital market.

Summary of solution

For millennia, the mid-Murray River delta has supported a high density of human habitation and biodiverse species. However, irrigation development, water management reform, water market design and climate change have significantly impacted the region. Finding ways to sustainably resource landscape rehydration and land stewardship is critical for resilience in farming communities and the regeneration of natural assets in the face of a rapidly changing climate.This project explores the potential for sustainable funding from extending biodiversity from protected areas across productive land.

River Country Biolink co-designs detailed landscape rehydration plans with River Country farmers, landscape rehydration experts, traditional owners and environmental markets experts. The planning would include designs to enhance wetland habitat restoration and the contiguous corridor linking important refugia across farms. Landholders of the biolink demonstration site are collaborating to develop detailed plans to enhance the regenerative qualities of carbon sinks in wetland ‘teal carbon’ and biodiverse plantings with landscape hydration interventions. Landholders can’t rely on the continuity of philanthropic or government grants for regeneration projects so seeking a competitive advantage in accessing environmental markets for their land stewardship is an important solution.

Why is this solution innovative

This project aims to build detailed investor and implementation-ready plans, co-designed and endorsed by key landholders, other farmers, traditional owners, government agency and philanthropic organisations. It also builds capacity for co-design of environmental assets and create social licence for replication and scale. Designing climate resilient solutions give a sense of empowerment, a way forward and a renewal of bonds between community. This project seeks to demonstrate in an open and transparent way how farmers may have an advantage in accessing sustainable funding and local resources to regenerate their land, providing the community another strategy for adapting to extremes.

The initiative is a critical step in delivering regenerative outcomes across country, engaging land holders, local indigenous communities and the broader community to plan and ultimately create bio-links which are a sustainable, protective mechanism in the face of climate change.