Group of adults watch birds through binoculars and scopes

Birds of a feather flocked together recently as the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, together with Birdlife East Gippsland, enjoyed breakfast with the birds. 

It was a perfect morning for bird watching as the group travelled to Marlo, Loch End and Lake Wat Wat in search of feathered friends. And they were not disappointed, spotting small terns, Australasian shovelers and a rare sighting of Black-Tailed godwits.

Participants also learned about the impact that the Snowy River Rehabilitation project has had on the health of the river system and the wildlife that call it home. 

Community members and EGCMA staff stand in front of the Lady Jane boat moored on the Nicholson River in East Gippsland.

Community members joined staff from the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) on a boat cruise of the Nicholson River last week with a bbq dinner provided courtesy of the Nicholson Angling Club.

Setting off from the Nicholson boat ramp, participants enjoyed a return trip to the mouth of the river to learn about the ecology of the waterway, water quality monitoring, fish habitat and river health projects undertaken across the catchment.

“We’ve been working together with the EGCMA to improve the health of the Nicholson River for over two decades” noted Marg Bradley, a life member of the angling club.

 “We’d like to thank the angling club and community members for being as passionate about East Gippsland’s rivers as we are.” said Mel Birleson, EGCMA Project Coordinator. “Getting people involved in our waterways is good for our health and wellbeing and a key priority in the Water Plan for Victoria.”

The sun was shining and conditions were calm as the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and Parks Victoria hosted a walk, talk and paddle at Corringle Foreshore Reserve last week.

Participants learnt about the joint management arrangements between GLaWAC and Parks Victoria, the cultural significance of the Reserve and the importance that environmental water flows play to the health of the Snowy River.

“Getting out into nature is good for the health and wellbeing of our whole community” said Nicole Thompson EGCMA Water Program Team Leader, “We’d like to thank our partners and all of the community members who helped make this day such a success. Getting people involved in our waterways is a key priority in the Water Plan for Victoria.”

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority is offering community members an opportunity to explore the Corringle Foreshore Reserve.

The EGCMA, in partnership with the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and Parks Victoria, will host a free cultural walk, talk and paddle tour at 10.30am on Thursday 30th May.

Participants will have an opportunity to walk through the Foreshore Reserve and adjoining coastline, learn about the significance of Corringle to the Gunaikurnai people and hear from GLaWAC and Parks Victoria about their joint management arrangements.

Taking to the water, participants will paddle toward the mouth of the Snowy River Estuary to learn about the importance that environmental water flows play to the health of the river system, the surrounding biodiversity and the people who enjoy it.

Lunch and all equipment will be supplied and guests will paddle with the support and guidance of qualified and experienced recreational instructors.

The excursion is suitable for people with no prior paddling experience, but participants need to be reasonably fit and agile to enter the canoes or rafts and complete a 2km walk. It’s open to everyone over the age of twelve, and those under 18 must be accompanied by a supervising adult.

Participants will be required to bring clothing and any personal supplies, and be prepared to get a little wet.

If you would like to join in the fun,  please register here from Wednesday 15th May.  Numbers will be limited so early booking is advisable.

Please note that this paddle is subject to weather conditions and river flows.

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) last week played host to staff of seven Catchment Management Authorities from across the state as part of the East Gippsland CMA Knowledge Sharing Forum.

Members of the West Gippsland, Corangamite, Wimmera, Goulburn Broken, North East and North Central CMA’s gained an understanding of East Gippsland’s unique natural environment and the challenges and opportunities in maintaining and enhancing the health of our catchments.

The group visited the Mitchell River Silt Jetties, the mouth of the Tambo River, the Nicholson Dam and took a boat trip to view works across the Gippsland Lakes. EGCMA partners  Birdlife Australia, DELWP, Friends of Beware Reef, Gippsland Ports, Greening Australia, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and The Marine Mammal Foundation, all spoke passionately about their respective projects.

A particular highlight was the smoking ceremony performed by GLaWAC  JM Ranger Supervisor, Grattan Mullet Jnr at Sperm Whale Head and the opportunity to learn about the joint management of ten parks and reserves by GLaWAC and Parks Victoria.

This event was a great opportunity to showcase our partnerships throughout the region.”  said Becky Hemming, acting EGCMA chief executive officer. “Sharing of knowledge and experiences with CMA staff from around the state will contribute to better relationships and a better understanding of how to improve the health of our rivers and waterways.”

 

It’s been all about the Bass on the rivers of East Gippsland recently. The Australian Bass that is.

Last week saw the release of 10,000 Bass fingerlings into the Nicholson River at Deptford  as part of a project undertaken by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Bairnsdale RSL Angling Club and Victorian Fisheries Authority.

The release compliments the stocking of 454,000 Bass across 19 rivers and Lakes throughout Victoria, including 95,000 Bass into the Snowy River in recent weeks.

“We’ll always put our hand up to look after the health of our fishery.” said Russell White, President of the RSL Angling Club. “Bass have been a scarce fish to target in the past. We want to be able to help in some small way, and if down the track that means our kids can catch a fish then even better.”

Australian Bass rely on spring floods to trigger spawning and migration. The Nicholson Dam (below Deptford) creates a barrier that the Bass cannot cross. This project; and previous stocking of Bass in the river by Victorian Fisheries Authority, is keeping a good population of Bass in the river while we consider how to address the dam barrier impacts.

“Angling clubs are passionate about fishing and the environment and are actively involved in looking after fish stocks.” said Travis Dowling, CEO of the Victorian Fisheries Authority. “It’s great that we can work with the EGCMA and the angling club to look after our environment and our fishery as one.”

“The Water Plan for Victoria recognises the value of our rivers and waterways to our community’s wellbeing.” said Graeme Dear, CEO of EGCMA, “Partnering with others such as our local angling clubs and the Victorian Fisheries Authority is exactly what the Water Plan is about.”

This project compliments the State Government’s commitment to delivering its $46 million Target One Million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

There was movement aplenty on the Snowy River last week with the release of a significant environmental flow from the Jindabyne Dam. The equivalent of 3,200 olympic swimming pools of water was released in a single day.

Close to the NSW border, McKillops Bridge became temporary home to rafts, canoes and kayaks as paddlers keen for adventure navigated the river and it’s rapids downstream to where the Buchan river joins the Snowy.

The local wildlife was also out in force with platypus foraging, water dragons basking in the sun and birds of prey kept busy feeding their young.

Further downstream, scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) spent the week monitoring nutrient levels flowing down the river. The project, administered by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) and funded by the Victorian State Government, is looking to determine what positive effect the nutrients are having on the wetlands and estuary.

Dan Stoessel from ARI said “If the nutrients are not coming down at the appropriate time then you don’t get all of the ongoing benefits for the fish so it’s important that these events occur, especially in the Spring.”

Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA said,  “The Water Plan for Victoria provides for long term investment in waterway health that also improves the recreational value of our rivers for people like last weeks kayakers.”

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.