Barwon Flagship Project

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Dewing Creek BEFORE Riparian works
Dewing Creek AFTER Riparian works

The Barwon River

The Barwon River rises in the Otway Ranges and flows close to the townships of Forrest, Birregurra, Winchelsea and Inverleigh, before joining the Moorabool River and flowing through Geelong and the Lower Barwon Wetlands, joining the coast at Barwon Heads. The Barwon River flows through Eastern Maar Country and Wadawurrung Country.

Upper Barwon

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) has identified the Upper Barwon River as the focus for investment as part of our Barwon Flagship Waterway project. Flagship waterways are large-scale rehabilitation projects happening across the state of Victoria, made possible through the Victorian Government’s investment into waterway and catchment health.

The Barwon River was identified in Water for Victoria (2016) as a priority waterway within the region. This project is consistent with the Barwon Ministerial Advisory Committee (Barwon MAC) discussion paper and Corangamite Waterway Strategy, through contributing to social, economic, and environmental long-term outcomes.

Upper Barwon Flagship Waterway project area

The Barwon Flagship project will be delivered as a large scale, long-term (30 year) project, with the Upper Barwon prioritised due to the significant impact of Willows (Salix spp) and Reed sweet Grass (Glyceria maxima) in the river system. This causes choke points that inhibit water flow and contribute to flooding. There are also impacts on riverbank stability and water quality due to unrestricted stock access.

During 2022 – 2024 the initial focus of the Flagship Project in the Upper Barwon is about working together with landholders, key agencies and community groups to develop and trial strategies that can be applied to priority Willow and Glyceria chokes using riparian management practices. This will improve the delivery of environmental water within the Upper Barwon and further down the Barwon River.

The Upper Barwon will focus a series of projects  to improve the health of the waterway. These are described below and have been designed to address the issues in this part of the system.

Projects on the Upper Barwon

Environmental Water

The Corangamite CMA ‘E-Water’ team have been working towards improving the Upper Barwon Rivers flow using timed water releases of water from the West Barwon Reservoir into either the East or West Branch of the Barwon River.

Through this we are aiming to improve flow in the river and water quality to maintain riverine habitat and food sources for native fish and platypus.

Learn more about what the ‘E-Water’ team does here.

On-ground Riparian Works

Riparian land is the ‘buffer zone’ between water and land. The land could be used for anything from a recreation reserve to an area for livestock to graze. It’s important to keep riparian land healthy and well covered with vegetation to help maintain a healthy waterway.

The focus areas for riparian works in the Upper Barwon is documented in the Corangamite Waterway Strategy and includes Dewing Creek and the Barwon River East and West branches to their confluence.

Upper Barwon Flagship Riparian Works is a new program and will focus on trialling site specific riparian and on-stream innovative approaches to address the infestation problems with willows and Glyceria.

In addition the Waterway Protection Program has funded works in Dewing Creek and may, in the future, fund eligible interest in the East or West Branch of the Barwon River.

Learn more about the Waterway Protection Program here. Further updates on the trials will be included on this page.

Citizen Science

Citizen Science aims to maintain and improve the connections between people and their local waterways. This is undertaken through diverse hands-on activities, such as monitoring water quality, photopoint monitoring at key sites, or e-DNA sampling to determine if platypus are present. 

Other educational and awareness events may include activities associated with native fish. The monitoring undertaken is used to help inform decisions regarding the future management of the river.

Learn more about what the Citizen Science team do here.

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