Landcare groups across the region have been polishing up on their technical skills in recent weeks, undertaking computer software training provided by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) in sessions run in Bairnsdale and Orbost.

The EGCMA has developed a simple to use software program to help community groups record projects they’ve undertaken and the improvements they have made.

Rena Gaborov from Goongerah Landcare Group appreciates the simplicity of the program and the ability to convey projects visually using a map. “It’s easy to upload our data, knowing that we can refer to what we’ve been doing over years just by clicking on different points.”

Carolyn Cameron, Community Projects Officer at the EGCMA, hopes that the training will ease the administrative burden on groups. “We’ve tried to create a simple program to help our Landcarers report on their projects and better convey all of the great work they do.”

This program has been developed with the support of the Victorian Landcare Program.

With the Mallacoota estuary entrance currently closed to the sea, the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) continues to regularly monitor the estuary levels as part of our waterway management role.

Last week Mallacoota received about 60mm of rain, which has increased the estuary water level to 0.92m on the gauge located on the public jetty by the boat ramp. For a successful opening to be considered the water level needs to be more than 1.5m on the gauge. An artificial opening below this level is unlikely to last for more than a few days before closing again.

When the estuary is closed for extended periods areas such as the town boat ramp, the foreshore walking path, car parks, moorings and some private property is affected.

Ideally, a good rain event will open the entrance naturally, however, there have been times in the past when the estuary has been opened artificially.  A decision to artificially open the estuary is made by the EGCMA, with the works being undertaken by Parks Victoria.

An artificial opening is not being planned at present. In planning an artificial opening, the main physical factors considered are the level of the water in the estuary, the predicted tide levels at sea, the forecast weather conditions and the distance of the sand bench between the beach and the lake.

The main environmental factor considered is the oxygen levels in the estuary at the time of the proposed opening to avoid a fish kill.  A fish kill can occur if the oxygenated water drains from the top water layers and forces fish into the lower oxygen-depleted water. This data is collected regularly in the lead up to an opening to help inform our decision making.

Further information about estuary conditions and the timing of an artificial opening can be found here.

(L-R) Rena Gaborov, Carolyn Cameron, Shelley McLean, Penny Gray, Emma Orgill and May Leatch at the East Gippsland Regional Landcare Group Handbook.

A new resource is set to benefit Landcarers throughout East Gippsland by removing the administrative burden that many groups feel and providing useful and relevant information.

The East Gippsland Regional Landcare Group Handbook was launched last week by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority together with Far East Landcare Victoria (FEVL), the East Gippsland Landcare Network and the Snowy River Interstate Landcare Committee.

A collection of resources designed to take the mystery out of good governance and record keeping, the handbook comes in electronic and hard copies and provides information on running a successful community group. It includes a variety of templates, from agendas and minutes to capturing volunteer hours, which can be customised by each group to meet their needs.

Penny Gray, Network Co-ordinator with FEVL, was instrumental in creating the handbook and is excited by the benefits of an electronic version. “The handbook provides a one-stop shop that we’ve never really had before. It will allow groups to get on with what they want to focus on rather than getting bogged down in paperwork.”

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.