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Trudi put a fence around her ‘moonscape’ dam and the results are extraordinary

Trudi put a fence around her ‘moonscape’ dam and the results are extraordinary

Trudi Refshauge’s property at Wyangala, in Central West New South Wales, was once described as a “moonscape”, nonetheless today it’s a refuge for birds, reptiles and insects. 

Key parts:

  • Trudi Refshauge’s dam at Wyangala is now a “native wonderland”
  • ANU research shows healthy dams lead to an increase livestock weight gain
  • Most farm dams exceed the safe water consumption threshold for animals

The transformation began with the Sustainable Farms undertaking race by the Australian National College, which looked into the far-reaching benefits of bettering the biodiversity around dams on farms. 

Early Newspaper

Ms Refshauge fenced off the livestock, planted an array of native timber, shrubs and reeds, and built an island for frogs in the center of the dam.

“Or not it’s a native wonderland and nature has taken care of a lot of it,” Ms Refshauge said.

“We now have obtained the most beautiful local eucalyptus timber, microscopic native birds are nesting around it, we now have obtained turtles in the dam and even native geese.”

An aerial shot of a farm with a dam visible.

Aerial search for of Trudi Refshauge’s Wyangala property in 2005, which she described as a “moonscape”.(

Equipped: Trudi Refshauge


Dam correct for backside line

Barred from scream access, the livestock drink from a trough fed by the dam.

Ms Refshauge said the stocking rate on the farm had increased since the improvements had been made.

“The cattle fabricate not thoughts,” she said.

A dam with a fence running through it.

Ms Refshauge’s dam is now a haven for birds, insects and reptiles.(

ABC Central West: Xanthe Gregory


ANU research ecologist Benjamin Scheele said the scant existing research showed “higher quality water has about an 11 per cent abet in phrases of weight gain”.

He said the impress abet factor ranged from 1.5 to a few, which meant the investment in infrastructure to fence off and trough from a water provide would pay off at the market internal a few years.

“Farm dams play a vital role in our ecosystem across farmland,” Dr Scheele said.

A dam surrounded by thriving native greenery.

A restored dam with healthy water for livestock courtesy of the thick floor quilt.(

Equipped: ANU


Bountiful benefits

To revive a dam, Dr Scheele says, livestock access should be restricted to decrease the amount of animal waste washed into the water.

That allows vegetation to establish itself on the surrounding walls and filter out material as it gets washed in.

A man in bush attire and a hat stands among tall grass in a paddock.

Ben Scheele will exhaust three years quantifying how better water quality leads to livestock weight gain.(



“You fetch distinguished clearer and less salty water, nonetheless also levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in the dams that are fenced are distinguished decrease,” Dr Scheele said.

Trudi put a fence around her ‘moonscape’ dam and the results are extraordinary