The lower Mitchell River was a hub of activity last weekend as the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) hosted a community paddle around Picnic Point.
After welcome rain the night before, paddlers travelled 5km downstream to the Picnic Point Reserve where they enjoyed a well earned picnic lunch.
Sean Phillipson, Operations Manager at the EGCMA, spoke about the history of the river and its importance for the health and wellbeing of the community. “The Mitchell River plays a vital role in supporting the local economy through provision of irrigation and town water and as a major destination for visitors and locals alike. People enjoy walking or riding bikes along the banks of the river, swimming, paddling, fishing or simply relaxing and taking in the scenery. It’s nice to be able to provide an opportunity for our community to experience the river from the water.”
The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) has been working with the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and local landholders to improve the condition of the Mitchell River Catchment and preserve Gunaikurnai cultural heritage.
On the banks of the Upper Mitchell, 800m of willows has been removed and the banks will be planted with native trees and shrubs to reduce erosion, improve riverbank stability and promote biodiversity. GLaWAC Cultural Heritage Officers Nicky Moffat and Paula Martin visited the site when the initial works got underway to identify the nature of any Aboriginal cultural heritage findings although none were ultimately unearthed.
“Working in partnership with GLaWAC before work starts helps ensure that our activity does not disturb areas of cultural importance.” noted Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA.