Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse
When Matt and Janet first came to Western Australia they were told they could run a feedlot without regular licenses as long as they were not within 100m of a watercourse. It makes a big difference. If a farm is a category 68, it can run thousands of cattle (and many dairy farms do) without being licensed. This is the ongoing saga of how Big-Government can use complexity to play Kingmaker.
I didnt think Id ever find agricultural codes interesting, but by paying attention to the detail we can see just how powerful The Department of Environment (DEC) is, and how selective it can be. You would think it would be easy to measure off 100 m toward a waterway, but how do you define a waterway? You can I might expect that it would have banks, or that in a 100 year flood the water flowing in the gully might have a chance of reaching a body of water big enough to have a fish. Dont apply for a job at DEC WA.
DEC has declared that Narrogin Beef Producers are a Category 1 property needing licenses because there are watercourses to the North of the feedlot, and to the South West. This picture below, is a photo (slightly amended) of that paddock to the north in winter. Would you call this a watercourse?
This is the watercourse to the South West, a remnant waterway.
This is a dry gully visible in aerial shots in the south western edge of their property (see the map image below). Theres no running water in it, and there hasnt been as long as the Thompsons have been there, and even in the event of a major flood, the gully leads to nowhere in particular. It doesnt flow into anything. You can follow the tree line of these dry gullies in a google map and see that they eventually might meander into salt pans that are kilometers away .(Full Story)