Managing your rural residential property in an environmentally friendly way requires a variety of knowledge and skills.  In this Guide to Rural Residential Living we have provided general information on the common conservation and land management issues that you should consider when managing your property.  This Chapter allows you to add any new information which does not necessarily slot into any of the other Chapters of the Guide.  We have included some topic areas already to get you started.

Project Planning

You may have decided to undertake a larger project on your rural residential property, or as part of your local Landcare group (eg; weed eradication or revegetation works).  When undertaking such projects, researching and planning your activities allows you to set goals and prioritise actions to be undertaken using best management practices.  Once on-ground work has begun, monitoring and evaluation is crucial to measuring success and establishing new goals and actions.  Project planning also allows you to report on your project, including sharing information with others.

Woodsmoke and Air Pollution

Smoke from wood heaters is a major cause of air pollution in rural residential areas during winter months.  If you can see or smell smoke from your wood heater, not only are you wasting fuel and money, it is also causing air pollution which is bad for your health and that of your family and neighbours.  Woodsmoke contains a number of pollutants including:

  • Gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides or nitrogen
  • Organic compounds, some of which are toxic or carcinogenic
  • Fine particles, such as those seen in the air as white smoke

All woodheaters, when operated properly, should produce heat without smoke.  To get the most heat from your woodheater and prevent air pollution always use properly seasoned dry wood in your woodheater, establish a hot fire quickly with paper and small kindling, ensure there is enough air to keep your fire burning brightly, and only use larger pieces of wood when the fire is well established.

Local Rural Supplier
Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change

Safety on Your Rural Residential Property and All Terrain Vehicles

Most people do not think of the home as a dangerous place, however rural properties are one of the main places where accidents occur.  Unlike urban areas, many rural residential properties are located some distance from emergency services and have increased hazards, such as tractors and machinery, chemicals, and livestock.  Identifying the potential hazards and risks on your property will enable you to reduce the risk of accidents.  You should also ensure that your family and visitors to your property are aware of any safety issues.  A common example of a safety issue in a rural residential areas are All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) such as quadbikes.  Questions you should ask related to potential hazards of these vehicles include;

  • Do you really need to use the ATV for the task? Is it the best vehicle for the task?
  • Is there a roll cage fitted? Do you have other safety equipment such as a helmet, eye protection, protective footwear?
  • Has the ATV been maintained and is it in good working condition?
  • Does the operator know how to use the vehicle properly. Are they over 16 years of age?
  • Is there more than one person on the AT

Chemical Safety

Chemicals on your property could include a range of products used for a number of activities, such as household cleaning, vehicles and machinery use and maintenance, animal care, and pest and weed control.  Chemical owners and users have legal obligations to reduce the potential hazards and risks to the health and safety of themselves and others and the potential impacts of such chemicals on the natural environment, including waterways, soils, native plants and animals.  Before using any chemical on your property you should read the label on the product container, and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).  A MSDS is a document prepared by the manufacturer with all the available information on the product, including ingredients, any health and safety dangers, first aid instructions, emergency procedures, safety precautions and practices for safe use, handling and storage.  There are a number of steps you should always follow when using chemicals:

  • Always read the label and MSDS and follow the instructions for use
  • Never mix different chemicals together
  • Always store chemicals in the container in which you bought the product (NEVER store chemicals in food or drink containers)
  • Monitor weather conditions—do not spray chemicals if rain is expected, in windy conditions or during high temperatures
  • As a courtesy, notify neighbours of your intentions to use chemicals near their property, especially if you are spraying
  • Ensure chemicals do not contaminate creeks, rivers, dams or other waterways - either directly or through runoff
  • Ensure that you have the correct license for any chemicals you are using or storing
  • Always dispose of used chemical containers through appropriate programs such as drumMUSTER or ChemClear. Call your Local Council for more information about these programs

Copyright 2011 HCCREMS