East Gippsland Waterway Strategy
East Gippsland’s waterways are remarkable ‘natural assets’ of Victoria, with the highest proportion of streams in ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ condition in the state (approximately 82%) according to the Index of Stream Condition criteria. The region contains a Ramsar listed wetland system (Gippsland Lakes and Lake Tyers), six declared Heritage Rivers, and many national parks and reserves. A large proportion (83%) of the region is public land, stretching from sub-alpine environments to the coast.
Our waterways provide many of Victoria’s best fishing, swimming, camping, boating and scenic attractions. The health of these waterways underpins many aspects of tourism, employment and investment in the region.
The purpose of the East Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014–2022 is to ensure that the future management of our waterways keeps providing these important environmental, social, cultural and economic values.
The strategy provides a framework for the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, in partnership with other natural resource management agencies, traditional owners, the regional community and other stakeholders to improve the health of the region’s waterways over the next eight years. It delivers key elements of the state-wide approach outlined in the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy.
The East Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014–2022 identifies the region’s high value waterways, based on environmental, social and economic values. It identifies six high level regional goals for the future management of our rivers:
1 Maintain the condition of all waterways which are in near-natural condition.
2 Improve the condition of 'regionally important’ waterways, defined for their social, economic and environmental values.
3 Maintain or improve the condition of waterways within urban water supply catchments to maximise water quality.
4 Improve the resistance and resilience of waterways within cleared land to reduce the risk of bed and bank instabilities, for public benefit.
5 Manage priority invasive plant and animal species that are damaging the health of waterways, using the biosecurity approach.
6 Where appropriate, improve connections within and among rivers, estuaries and wetlands and between these waterways and terrestrial native vegetation.
The East Gippsland Waterway Strategy 2014–2022 also identifies priority waterways for targeted management over the next eight years. These targets relate to:
• targeted control of priority invasive plants and animals on priority waterways
• establishing priority waterway frontages under a management agreement, and fencing, revegetation and complementary weed control
• investigating the effect of barriers on fish species and prioritising actions in lower Prospect (Boggy) Creek and in the Buchan River and removing the fish barrier on the Nicholson River
• installing waterway structures (rock beaching) on the lower Mitchell, lower Tambo, lower Nicholson and the lower Snowy estuaries.
• installing waterway structures (large wood) on the lower Mitchell River and estuary, lower Tambo River and estuary and the lower Snowy estuary
• investigating the stability of, and prioritising actions for, the lower Mitchell River, minor Gippsland Lakes tributaries and on Cobbannah and Tonghi creeks
• monitoring bed stability on Forge Creek
• investigating flow paths into floodplain wetlands and prioritising actions for the lower Mitchell River, Skull Creek, lower Tambo and lower Snowy rivers
• developing and implementing a monitoring plan for the lower Mitchell River and estuary
• working with partners to conduct surveillance and control of priority pest plants and animals in Ewing’s Marsh and remote coastal priority wetlands
• developing and implementing rehabilitation plans for the lower Mitchell and Tambo waterways
• completing and implementing a lower Snowy River and wetland monitoring and investigation plan and prioritise actions
• incorporating priority wetlands into the 10-year plan for the establishment and maintenance of native vegetation in the Gippsland Lakes and Hinterland.
• supporting Parks Victoria in implementing the Victorian Alpine Peatlands Spatial Action Plan
• working with partners to manage community access on the lower Tambo estuary
• implementing the estuary opening protocols on the Lake Tyers and lower Snowy estuaries and on Sydenham and Mallacoota inlets.
The views of the East Gippsland community were collected through ongoing regular consultation with landholders and through two community forums held in March 2013. The views of agencies, stakeholders and traditional owner groups were collected through consultation and considered throughout the development of the strategy. The objectives and guidance of other relevant strategies, such as the East Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy (EGCMA 2013), the Gippsland Lakes Environment Strategy (GLMAC 2013), Gippsland Sustainable Water Strategy (DSE 2011) and the Invasive Plants and Animals Plan (EGCMA 2011) were also considered in prioritising waterways.