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.

Carolyn Cameron from the EGCMA with Martyn Hiley and Max Elliott from the Friends of Mallacoota

Gabo Island might be a remote parcel of land in the most remote pocket of eastern Victoria but it is also home to an ambitious project to remove a highly invasive weed, Mirror bush.

Through funding from the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, the Friends of Mallacoota group are working to get rid of the shrub, a native of New Zealand.

Mirrorbush is often planted in coastal gardens because of its tolerance to sea-spray but it is also capable of forming dense clumps that don’t provide any room for native plants to grow and restricts the habitat of native critters and birdlife.

Martyn Hiley, a member of Friends of Mallacoota and regular visitor to Gabo Island recalls “In the past, I’d visit and see the weeds there and think wouldn’t it be nice to do something about that?” And now he is. Three times a year, eight volunteers charter a boat to the island and stay in accommodation provided by Parks Victoria. In four day stints the team use a grid pattern to remove weed from an area around the Lighthouse and they hope that in 5-6 years they will have completed the entire 154 hectare island.

Max Elliott moved to Mallacoota 18 months ago, and he is impressed at the willingness of the community to dig in and lend a hand. “Our Friends group has 130 members which isn’t bad for a town of only a thousand or so people. If somebody wants to get something done then they know they just have to ask, and that’s true of getting weeds off Gabo or removing rubbish from Betka Beach or anything. Town folk are just willing to get in and do and that’s a lovely thing.”

“People can ask why we care about the weeds on Gabo Island” says Martyn, “The people of Mallacoota love Gabo Island and the nice thing about an island is that it’s contained. If we can remove Mirror bush entirely off the island then it may not come back, and that’s a good thing.”

“Because of the hard work of the Friends of Mallacoota, the township is relatively weed free, we’re surrounded by wilderness and it would be nice to see Gabo weed free one day too. “

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.”

The carpet of wildflowers may be gone for another year but in the Alpine National Park nature lovers are still looking for adventure on the many walking tracks that the high plains have on offer.

Last week the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) began willow control works on a 340 hectare area surrounding alpine wetlands on the plains including sites at JB Plain, Precipice Creek and Mayford.

The works compliment those being undertaken by Parks Victoria to protect six known sites that are home to fragile alpine wetlands known as sphagnum bogs.

The primary focus of the willow control is to protect the Alpine Bogs from infestation by highly invasive willows and to stop the willows from spreading throughout the catchment.

The combined efforts of Parks Victoria and the EGCMA help to protect the Alpine Wetlands for locals and visitors to enjoy for years to come.

This project is funded by the Victorian State Government.

Local wildlife came out to say g’day last week as the EGCMA led a community ramble around the Red Gum Plains.

Folk who attended had the opportunity to travel to sites in Skull Creek, Bengworden, Forge Creek and Cobblers Creek to see the progress of works being undertaken by the EGCMA partners including Greening Australia, Trust For Nature, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Vic, Gippsland Plains CMN and DELWP.

Wildflowers, a friendly echidna, birds and of course informative commentary from those in the know, were just some of the highlights of the tour. Project sites visited have been funded by the Victorian and Federal Governments to help maintain biodiversity of both plants and wildlife across the region.

The EGCMA would like to thank the community members, landholders and partner organisations who helped make this day such a success.

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.