The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) Board have toured three locations on the Gellibrand River to learn more about ongoing waterway improvement works within the Corangamite region.
The CCMA organised the day which included presentations by staff and guest speakers from Wannon Water and EstuaryWatch. The Board visited three locations on the Gellibrand River including project sites in Carlisle River, Chapple Vale and Princetown.
First stop included a visit to a Waterway Protection Project site in Carlisle River. Project Officer Land and Catchment Health, Gene Gardiner, explained how on ground works including the removal of blackberries and willows as well as revegetation and fencing, help prevent stock from accessing the river and contribute to water quality improvements in the Gellibrand River.
At Chapple Vale, Catchment and Land Manager, Chris Pitfield, provided an overview of the Our Catchments, Our Communities funded Sustainable Dairy Project, a dairy extension program delivered in partnership with Agriculture Victoria, WestVic Dairy and the Central Otways Landcare Network. The project is the region’s first attempt at combining existing dairy extension programs with targeted natural resource management outcomes.
The project is one of many done along the waterway between Chapple Vale and Carlisle River which aims to improve the water quality of the river. These projects are a combined effort between private landholders, the CCMA and Wannon Water.
Wannon Water Acting Manager Director, Kellie King, joined the Board on their tour. “The day was a great opportunity to discuss our shared interests and collaborative partnership work in relation to the health of the Gellibrand River and Estuary,” she said.
In Princetown, CCMA Community Engagement Coordinator, Jason Burgoyne, explained how citizen science programs such as EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch can have multiple outcomes. The programs contribute by monitoring the condition of estuaries and waterways across the region and state, providing water quality baseline data that can be used to feed directly into management decisions. The programs also provide training and education for the broader community about water and land health.
Jason was joined by Judy Spafford who has been an EstuaryWatch monitor for over ten years. Judy spoke about EstuaryWatch’s involvement and thanked the CCMA for the ongoing support of the EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch programs. She said the programs have created awareness of existing problems and provided exciting educational opportunities that have enabled local residents to become involved, to work on site and learn with river and estuary management teams, make new discoveries and collect credible baseline data over a period of time.
CCMA Manager Estuaries & Environmental Water, Jayden Woolley, said the tour was an opportunity for the Board to learn more about current initiatives and projects to improve water quality and increase flows for the river and estuary. “The tour provided an opportunity to discuss management activities to maintain or improve the environmental condition of the estuaries with the intent of supporting healthy ecosystems and long-term sustainable use,” he said.
CCMA Board, Deputy Chair, Tamara Boyd, said the tour highlighted the importance of protecting and improving the health of the Gellibrand River. “Not only does the waterway have important ecological values, it provides water for local communities and supports a significant agricultural industry,” she said.
She said Board members were excited to see that landholders are progressively realising the many advantages of waterway protection. The agricultural outcomes are valuable to farmers, and the work is also helping to improving local water quality and fish habitat.