As the ‘caretaker of river health’ under the Water Act 1989, the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority plans and supervises on-ground works on waterways in partnership with other agencies and individual landholders.
On the floodplain reach of the Snowy River, these works primarily include willow control, large wood installation and a fully vegetated riparian zone (about 400 hectares) from Jarrahmond to the estuary at Marlo (30 kilometres) fenced from grazing stock.
The Authority has been assisted in these tasks by a strong partnership with Moogji Aboriginal Council at Orbost for the past 8 years. During this time, indigenous work crews have undertaken fencing, revegetation and weed control on the lower Snowy River and inflowing tributaries.
From 2005/2006 to 2012/2013, Moogji received funding of $1.55M to undertake these works. Moogji is currently contracted to complete $225K of works in the 2013/14 year. These contracts provide ongoing employment for members of the works crews.
Building knowledge and skills in natural resource management are regarded as integral to the partnership. The knowledge and skills gained through TAFE courses, on-the-job training and work experience at various sites adds to the capacity of the crew to assume an increasingly more significant role in the management of this iconic waterway.
This training and experience also connects members of the work crew with the land and the river which are the foundation of indigenous heritage and culture.
The works undertaken make an important contribution to the rehabilitation of the Lower Snowy River.