Community custodians

The gloves were on and enthusiasm was high as students from Lindenow Primary School celebrated National Tree Day last week with a visit to the upper reaches of Skull Creek.

Working with the GLaWAC NRM crew, the grade 4’s & 5’s planted over 500 native seedlings in an effort to help restore the 10 km stretch of wetlands near Lindenow.

With the new plants in the ground, the kids learned about the cultural significance of the site with Uncle Alfie Hudson and were excited to find a baby Eastern long neck turtle hatchling with the team from Bug Blitz.

The event was organised by Greening Australia (GA) in collaboration with the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority with funding provided by the Victorian State Governments ‘Our Catchment, Our Communities’ plan.

Martin Potts, from GA appreciates the significance of being able to foster relationships with the environment from an early age. “These students are learning about the biodiversity and the cultural history of their own backyard. It’s important to give kids an opportunity to do their little bit, to be custodians and bring a little bit of wilderness back.” he said.

Grade four teacher Kate McNab appreciates the connection that these excursions bring to the biological studies being taught in the classroom. “It’s a great environmental activity for the kids to be out amongst the trees and animals that we’re learning about and great to be able to spend some time with Alfie learning about the culture of the area.  The baby turtle was just the icing on the cake“

Classroom in a catchment

Clifton Creek Primary School students travelled to the Nicholson River at Deptford to learn about the history of the area with members of the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), Greening Australia and Bug Blitz.

Walking downstream, students visited the old diversion tunnel built next to the river in a quest to find gold and had a hard time believing that the area once had a population of 300 people and it’s own local school.

With nets in hand, they were able to explore the tiny critters that live in and around the river and better understand what a healthy waterway looks like. They even found a Gypsy Jumping spider, which is common in NSW and Queensland but never before recorded in East Gippsland.

“It’s great for the kids to explore the local community”, said Sue Paul, Principal of Clifton Creek Primary. “The kids love a nature walk and are currently studying habitat and endangered species so it’s important to be able to connect what we’re learning in the classroom with what’s happening out in the world.”

Weeding Works, Top Down

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) has been working together with DELWP and the Moogji Aboriginal Council to undertake weed control on the Deddick, Bonang and Brodribb Rivers.

Community members in Tubbut, Goongerah and Bonang have identified emerging high priority weeds along the local waterways which would quickly spread downstream if left untreated.

The partners have controlled Inkweed on the Brodribb around Goongerah and English Holly below the Bonang Township. The removal of Privet around Tubbut compliments previous works by DELWP to improve river health.

“It’s important to work together with our partners to achieve the best results for our waterways, from top to bottom,” said Chris Anderson, Project Officer with DELWP.

“Controlling weeds on our waterways is a significant part of the Authority’s works program”, said Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA. “This project supports the State Governments Water Plan for Victoria seeking to improve the health of waterways and catchments throughout the state.

Our communities care

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) hosted members from the DELWP Our Catchments, Our Communities (OCOC) team recently when they visited the region to learn about the progress of two projects funded by the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment to improve the health of the state’s waterways and catchments.

The EGCMA is working together with landholders, Gunaikurnai Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), community and partner agencies in the Swifts Creek / Ensay area to deliver a coordinated approach to looking after the Tambo catchment. The works have included fencing off stock access to the Tambo River, controlling weeds and planting native seedlings to encourage revegetation.

Also, at Skull Creek near Lindenow on the Red Gum Plains, Greening Australia is working closely with ten landholders to exclude stock from the creek, control rabbits and plant native seedlings. This project involves GLaWAC who have undertaken a cultural heritage survey on the site while their NRM crew are helping to deliver the weed control and planting. Lindenow and Lindenow South Primary schools have also been regular visitors with multiple excursions to help with revegetation and to learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the waterway.

Luke Murphy from DELWP said “It’s great to see so many community members involved in the projects. It’s nice to be able to visit the region and see the funds put to good use.”

Snowy Shelter

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority has been working with local contractors to install twenty-five large wooden structures as habitat for fish and the small critters they feed on.

Funded through the State Governments recreational fishing licences fund, the structures are created from tethering logs with rootballs to a pile driven into the bed of the river from a barge. This minimises disturbance and damage to the adjoining riverbanks.

The structures create shelter and resting spots for key recreational angling species such as Australian Bass, Bream, Luderick and Estuary Perch, and provide refuge from predators.

“Large numbers of snags provide shelter and habitat for fish and the food they prey on”, said Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA. “This project not only benefits the health of the Snowy estuary, but also recreational fishing and tourism for the region.”

Graeme said “ Marlo Angling Club has been actively involved over the years to help prioritise works and promote the benefits of a healthy river to fisherman and the broader community. We would like to thank them for their continued support.”

The EGCMA are working in partnership with DELWP and VicRoads to utilise suitable logs removed for roadworks to help improve our waterways.