Murries On Barwon Project
The Murries on Barwon (MoB) Project was named the State winner of the 2013 NSW Landcare Indigenous Innovation Award and was an outstanding partnership between the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA, the Mungindi Local Aboriginal Land Council, NSW TAFE, and the Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation.
A highlight of the project was the establishment of an eight kilometre long wildlife corridor that now connects biodiversity from the Boomi River to the Barwon River on the NSW/Queensland border on the Mungindi Local Aboriginal Land Council owned property, ‘Glanville’.
The six Aboriginal trainees employed through the MoB project harvested and propagated local provenance native seed for revegetation of the corridor, erected fencing, and then strategically planted thousands of seedlings to create shelter and habitat for native species. They also conducted weed eradication, feral animal control, stream bank regeneration, water quality testing, and monitoring and evaluation tasks
The MoB land and river conservation and rehabilitation project was not just aimed at environmental gains. It was also designed to build employment skills in the local Aboriginal community.
Under the project, six trainees completed a 12 month traineeship in rural skills, which included formal TAFE training in Conservation and Land Management (Certificate II) as well as specialised training in chemical handling, use of poisons to control feral animals, chainsaw operation, Aboriginal Sites Awareness and Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training.
Support for Landcare networks and community activities
Five Landcare networks are located within the Border Rivers-Gwydir catchment area. There are more than 90 active Landcare groups working across the catchment.
The Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA provides funding for Landcare Community Support Officers across the five Landcare networks to provide a localised contact point for natural resource management enquiries and referrals to other extension and advisory services including the CMA, DPI, LHPA and private suppliers.
The Landcare and Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA partnership has increased the viability of the Landcare networks themselves through supporting governance structures and processes and has provided access to CMA support and advice via additional networks. The partnership has increased community awareness, capacity building and investment in natural resource management initiatives across each network area.
Eradication of Aquatic Weed Incursion
Upon recent monitoring of the Dumaresq River on the NSW/Queensland border it has been confirmed that two highly invasive and threatening aquatic weed species have been eradicated. Eradication of any species is extremely difficult and rare, but with the formation of a ground-breaking cross-border working group this has been achieved.
On the Dumaresq River in 2004 the Inverell Shire Council and Queensland DPI found an outbreak of the invasive aquatic weed, Water Lettuce. The Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA funded the Inverell Shire Council and Queensland DPI to undertake works to control the weed and a cross-border working group was founded to monitor and manage these outbreaks. The cross-border working group comprised the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA, Inverell, Tenterfield and Goondiwindi Shire Councils, Queensland and NSW Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Murray Darling Committee and Inglewood and Texas Landcare Networks.
The Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA then installed containment booms on the river to prevent the spread of Water Lettuce into the Murray Darling system. In the same area the invasive aquatic weed Water Hyacinth was then discovered in 2011. The booms were then placed in locations to control both weed species.
Water Lettuce has been eradicated from the Dumaresq River as it has not been seen for four years. The River has been free of Water Hyacinth for the past six months. If this Water Hyacinth-free status continues for another six months the weed will be considered eradicated with a long-term monitoring plan in place to ensure permanent eradication of both weeds.
The success of this program is due to the cross-border working group’s collaboration in combining monitoring, funding, works and equipment to identify new incursions, implement a rapid response and long-term control program to eradicate these highly invasive aquatic weeds which threaten aquatic biodiversity and water quality for agricultural production and ecological health.
This containment and eradication formula is currently being repeated for Cats Claw Creeper along 170 kilometres of the Dumaresq River. Cats Claw Creeper is an aggressive vine that smothers shrubs and trees, creating a harbor for feral plants and animals and threatening biodiversity.