June 7, 2024

A Waterway Management Plan has been released for the Barwon River outlining a 30-year strategic direction for the management and protection of the flagship waterway.

Developed by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with Barwon Water and The Upper Barwon Landcare Network, the Barwon Flagship Waterway Management Plan guides the delivery of the Barwon Flagship project, a large-scale, long-term rehabilitation project which aims to improve riparian and waterway health in the Barwon Catchment, while promoting community involvement.

The Barwon Flagship Waterway project began in July 2021 through Victorian Government investment to improve catchment and waterway health across regional Victoria and the delivery of the Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan.

Amy Leith, General Manager of Strategy and Planning Services at the Corangamite CMA, said the Barwon Flagship’s initial focus area is the Upper Barwon section which includes the East and West Branches of the Barwon River from below the West Barwon Reservoir to their confluence, and a portion of Dewing Creek.

“This focus area has been prioritised due to the significant impact of weeds, specifically willows and Glyceria which cause choke points along the river - these chokes inhibit water flow downstream and currently restrict our ability to deliver important environmental water releases to the Barwon River,” she said.

“The Barwon River is important to both Traditional Owners and local communities. It is a critical drinking water supply catchment for the Geelong region, and it is an important ecosystem for diverse plant and animal species.   

The Barwon River flows from the Otways towards Geelong through Winchelsea and joins the Leigh River at Inverleigh and the Moorabool River at Fyansford. Its pathway continues through Geelong and the Connewarre Ramsar complex before joining the sea at Barwon Heads. It flows over 160kms through varied landscapes.

“The Barwon Flagship project brings together efforts by local landholders, key agencies and community groups over time to change the way we manage riparian land – the land or vegetation that adjoins the river. By focusing on the upper river, we aim to improve waterway health and in the long term enable the delivery of an increased environmental water entitlement, ultimately leading to improvements to flow and health in the river downstream where it flows through Geelong and out to sea.

“Together we are working towards a well-connected, healthy and accessible river and wetland corridor that supports fish and platypus populations, a river that continues to be a treasured place for locals and visitors to enjoy now and into the future,” continued Ms Leith.

The Barwon Flagship Waterway Management Plan sets out the required activities, targeted outcomes, roles and responsibilities, and outlines how planned works, events and achievements will be communicated annually. It is available to download on the Corangamite CMA website via the following links:

Flagship waterways are large-scale rehabilitation projects happening across Victoria, made possible through the Victorian Government’s investment of $248 million over four years (2020-2024) to improve waterway and catchment health.

Flagship waterways will continue to be supported as part of the Government’s investment of $270 million over the next four years (2024-2028) to protect and restore Victoria’s waterways and catchments, including giving more opportunities for Victorians to enjoy our rivers and wetlands.

The Barwon River was identified in Water for Victoria (2016) as a flagship waterway.

For more information about the Barwon Flagship Waterway project click here.

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