CCMA Climate Change Response

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Leading Regional Action on Climate Change 

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is committed to tackling the challenge of climate change by promoting regional climate change adaptation and mitigation programs and reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions for our own operations by 2024 – our Carbon Neutrality Action Plan.  

The overall goal of this plan is for the Corangamite CMA to reach net zero emissions for our own operations by the start of 2024 and move to 100% green power by the end of 2021.

A key component of the plan is to reduce emissions as much as possible, and any remaining emissions to be offsets through local projects in our region.

Coastal saltmarsh, Reedy Lake

How is CCMA Supporting Regional Action on Climate Change?

The focus for the Corangamite CMA has been ensuring ‘Natural Resource Management’ (NRM) is included in all regional decision making.

We have helped secure funding for two Corangamite CMA led projects, the Climate Change Biodiversity Forum ($30,000) and the Barwon South West Carbon Offset Program ($45,000), and we are founding members of the Barwon South West Climate Alliance.

The Barwon South West Carbon Offset Program is a pilot program that will allow Corangamite CMA to assess carbon projects and align them to the carbon offset requirements of 10 local governments.

The Corangamite CMA also continues to work in partnership with Deakin University’s ‘Blue Carbon Lab’ on Blue and Teal carbon initiatives.

Coastal saltmarsh, Reedy Lake

What does Climate Change mean for the Corangamite Region:  

    Vegetation

    It is expected that climate change will impact the region’s native vegetation, for example loss of plant species because of higher temperature and lower rainfall, changes to natural fire and flooding regimes and climatic conditions favouring new and established weed species.

    Many flora and fauna species have evolved over thousands of years and may not have the ability to adapt to what will be a rapidly changing climate. A climate that is hotter and drier will lead to other indirect impacts such as changes to natural fire and flooding regimes.

    Our native vegetation will play a significant role in climate change mitigation, through its role in carbon sequestration, so any threats are serious. We need to help flora and fauna populations adapt to climate change, as well as create more resilient landscapes.

    Coastal saltmarsh, Reedy Lake

    Waterways

    The region’s waterways are expected to be impacted through projected increases in temperature and overall decrease in rainfall. However, extreme rainfall events will also mean more frequent flooding. On top of this, many of our waterways have undergone decades of stress and it is expected that waterways such as the Moorabool, Leigh and waterways along the Otway Coast will suffer the greatest.

    Climate change will impact both the region’s extent and quality of wetlands. A reduction in the frequency and duration of rainfall events, combined with an increase in the duration of drier periods will lead to the drying of shallow wetlands.   

    Projected sea level rise, temperature increase, reduction in rainfall and an increase in extreme natural events (i.e. flooding) are all expected to impact the ecology and dynamics of the region’s estuaries. Existing threats, such as acidification, changes to natural estuary openings and nutrient levels may also be exaggerated by the indirect impacts of climate change.

    Sea level rise will impact the region’s 175km of coastline with increasing inundation and erosion as well as direct impacts on coastal habitats and biodiversity. Projected increases in storm surges will also directly impact many of the region’s coastal assets. Coastal habitats such as seagrass meadows and mangrove communities also play a significant role in carbon sequestration and must be protected.

    What does it mean to be Carbon Neutral?

    Achieving carbon neutrality means that you have reduced your climate impact to net zero. In the context of the Corangamite CMA, this means that the activities associated with the operations of the Corangamite CMA have no net negative impact on the climate.

    It means in the first instance reducing our emissions to the lowest possible and then utilising carbon offsets to reach full carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality also means that our emissions performance is measured in line with Australian Government endorsed standards, is verifiable and is audited.

    Our progress

    Corangamite CMA has undertaken measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through infrastructure and service improvements, renewable energy infrastructure installation and support for behavioural changes in resource use.

    In particular

      • Installation of a 30kw solar panel system on the Colac office
      • Replacement of electric hot water service with heat pump
      • Installation of a water tank at Colac office
      • Upgrade of teleconferencing facilities to reduce the need for travel
      • Upgrade of air conditioning and duct work at Colac office
      • Removal of foot heaters
      • Reduction in paper use through improved information management systems
      • Formation of an internal Corangamite CMA staff working group “Business Sustainability Group”

    Carbon Offset Opportunities for the Corangamite Region

       

      Regional Climate Change initiatives

        •  Barwon South West Climate Alliance. A regional partnership working to increase effective climate adaptation, reduce the risks and impacts of climate change, share knowledge and experience, and to co-ordinate a range of mutually beneficial climate adaptation and mitigation projects.
        • The Barwon South West Carbon Offset Program. A joint initiative to support the region’s Councils to offset their carbon emissions locally, through aligning carbon offsets with local natural resource management outcomes coordinated by the region’s two CMAs (Corangamite and Glenelg Hopkins).
        • Moorabool River Environmental Flows. Developing and negotiating better environmental flows for the Moorabool River and its tributaries
        • Bunanyung Landscape Alliance – Biolink Project. Working with the community and landholders to link the landscapes through strategic biolinks to support native fauna between Enfield and Wombat State Forests
        • Blue Carbon Projects. Ongoing coastal wetlands projects (including Karaaf) that align with blue carbon offset opportunities including the AG’s recently released coastal wetland method
        • Teal Carbon Projects. Research to quantify carbon offset opportunities at the western District Lakes and Farm Dams, through future team carbon methodologies
        • Soil Carbon Projects. Linking carbon offset markets with soil management outcomes, a partnership project between Landcare and the carbon market industry
        • Gellibrand Carbon Offset Project. Project involves Wannon Water meeting its carbon neutrality targets while achieving multiple NRM benefits including water quality
        • Adaptation Pathways. Developing adaptation strategies for the region’s most impacted natural asset, the Western District Lakes, under climate change