The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) has been working together with DELWP and the Moogji Aboriginal Council to undertake weed control on the Deddick, Bonang and Brodribb Rivers.

Community members in Tubbut, Goongerah and Bonang have identified emerging high priority weeds along the local waterways which would quickly spread downstream if left untreated.

The partners have controlled Inkweed on the Brodribb around Goongerah and English Holly below the Bonang Township. The removal of Privet around Tubbut compliments previous works by DELWP to improve river health.

“It’s important to work together with our partners to achieve the best results for our waterways, from top to bottom,” said Chris Anderson, Project Officer with DELWP.

“Controlling weeds on our waterways is a significant part of the Authority’s works program”, said Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA. “This project supports the State Governments Water Plan for Victoria seeking to improve the health of waterways and catchments throughout the state.

The lower Snowy River work is continuing this year with an ongoing partnership between the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) and Moogji Aboriginal Council.

The Moogji works crew have been working on the river for over a decade and look after the area from Jarrahmond to the Brodribb. The crew controls weeds and plants native seedlings to improve the health of the Snowy.

“Moogji are a terrific partner providing opportunities for local people to develop a career path and further employment opportunities while improving the health of the river.” said EGCMA CEO, Graeme Dear.

This aligns with the objectives of the Water Plan for Victoria which seeks greater involvement of indigenous people in waterway management.

Moogji Nursery

In a little nursery in Orbost, the Moogji Aboriginal Council have been growing big ideas.

The greenhouse was recently built to raise seedlings to plant along the banks of the Snowy as part of the Snowy River Rehabilitation project, administered by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA).

“We’re using seed collected from the same sites we’ll plant them back in to” explains Bianca McLaren from the Moogji works crew. “It’s quick and easy to collect the seed when we’re working by the riverbanks.”

The Moogji Aboriginal Council has a long working relationship with the EGCMA and other partner agencies. Graeme Dear, CEO EGCMA said, “involving aboriginal people to improve the health of our rivers is a key priority of the Water Plan for Victoria.”

Developing the greenhouse compliments the work they have been undertaking on the Snowy River Project and allows the organisation to continue to diversify.

This initiative has been established to involve young people, and the broader Aboriginal community, in growing plants as a pathway into upskilling and employment.

Latia LeSage has just started year 10 but spent her summer holidays doing work experience at the greenhouse helping to prepare and plant the seedlings. “I don’t have a green thumb at all but I enjoy the work.” she said. “I like to come and plant the seeds and it’s pretty cool to see them starting to grow”

“Growing plants is good for your soul” said Bianca. “If we can provide on the job experience knowing that it’s going to have a direct impact on the river we live near then everyone benefits”.

It was a perfect start to the morning when members of the Moogji Aboriginal Council works crew joined staff from the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (the EGCMA) for a paddle down the lower Snowy River recently.

The group were reviewing the progress of works from the past 15 years of the Snowy Rehabilitation Project and inspecting the river banks from Jarrahmond to the highway bridge.

Following the inspection, the Moogji crew were on the ground continuing works on the riverbank. The crew is keeping weeds at bay and undertaking planting to compliment previous works to establish a continuous corridor of native fauna on the lower Snowy.

“The Water Plan for Victoria encourages greater involvement of aboriginal people in the management of our rivers” says Graeme Dear, EGCMA CEO. “Engaging the Moogji Aboriginal Council crew for about 10 years now has provided a great opportunity to share an understanding of natural resource management whilst working to improve the health of this iconic river.”

The works are funded by the Victorian State Government.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past and present.