Achieving excellence in catastrophic event response

Winner:

Emergency Management and Community Resilience for 2010/11 Flood Events, North Central CMA

January 2011 flood was largest on record for several river systems, inundating an about 25% of the region. A significant, wide ranging and strategic response program was implemented to restore the natural environment and support communities in flood recovery. Extensive onground works included 265km waterway fencing and enhancing 280 ha of riparian vegetation.

Finalists

Black Saturday Bushfires, Melbourne Water

The Black Saturday bushfires will be remembered by all. The fires left much devastation behind, both socially and environmentally. Over 12% of Melbourne Water’s waterways were impacted by the bushfires. Melbourne Waters response to the fires was guided by a number of principles – Protect public assets; Protect the best; Facilitate natural recovery; Coordinate projects with other land managers. With these principles in mind, Melbourne Water completed targeted waterway monitoring and worked with many fire affected communities to erect fencing, complete weed control along these waterways. This project influenced state riparian policy by demonstrating the cost benefits of well executed, large-scale riparian revegetation projects in protecting streams from erosion during floods. The learnings informed the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure and will assist ongoing waterway revegetation programs.

North East Flood Response 2010/11, Alluvium

During 2011 and 2012, the North East region experienced three significant flood events and over 700 reports of flood related damage from the community. Extensive community engagement was undertaken along with a scientific study focusing on channel change during the 2010/11 floods. This study provided baseline knowledge to develop reach-scale waterway management programs with increased confidence of success.

Project partners: North East Catchment Management Authority

Building Knowledge in Waterway Management

Winner

Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment, Deptartment of Environment And Primary Industries

This ongoing program assesses the ecological and habitat benefits of environmental flow releases across Victoria. It is a world first in developing a set of quantitative ecological response models for flow alteration, ultimately leading to more effective use of environmental water.

Project partners: eWater CRC, Melbourne University, Sinclair Knight Merz, catchment management authorities of Victoria

Finalists

Constructed Waterway Design Manual, Alluvium

The development of a standard for constructed waterways in greenfield urban development sites builds will improve the quality and design of waterways and lead to improved river and riparian zone health at a reach-scale. At the same time improving knowledge within the waterway and development industry.

Project partners: Melbourne Water

Farm Dams Decision Support, Sinclair Knight Merz

Completed in 2012, this program enables the hydrologic impact of farm dams on waterways and environmental flows can be assessed. The tool informs farm dam licensing decisions, considers future trends, and enables the assessment of environmental flow reliability under both dam construction and removal.

Project partners: Western Australian Department of Water

Wise Water Ways Workshops, Wise Water Ways Inc

An ongoing professional development program for participants from across Australian and New Zealand that provides a comprehensive overview of integrated stream management and rehabilitation. Key disciplines include Hydrology, Hydraulics, Water Quality, Aquatic and Riparian Ecology, and, of course most importantly, geomorphology.

Project partners: NECMA, DEPI, La Trobe & Charles Sturt Universities, Alluvium, RBMS, Sinclair Knight Merz and Water Technology

Influencing Positive Change in Waterway Management

Winners

Little Stringybark Environmental Significance Overlay, Melbourne Water

The Little Stringybark Creek project is a world famous collaborative program for protecting streams by managing stormwater from urban catchments.  The project aims to improve the Little Stringybark Creek through various stormwater quality measures at property and street scales, however new housing developments with poor stormwater management continued to degrade the Creek. To address this, Melbourne Water worked with Yarra Ranges Council to propose changing the local planning arrangements (via an overlay) to ensure that  those developments that increase the hard surface areas, have appropriate stormwater treatment to improve the health of the Little Stringybark Creek. This Environmental Significance Overlay, while benefiting the Little Stringybark Creek, also provides a model for other municipalities.

Project partners: Yarra Ranges Council, University Of Melbourne

Stop Encroaching on the Yarra, Yarra Riverkeepers

This not-for-profit community organization, formed in 2004, has become the voice of the Yarra River.  The River Keepers were concerned about the Yarra being destroyed by large building developments too close to the river.  Years of lobbying working with planning experts, hundreds of presentations, taking state and local government officials on boat trips has resulted in government amendments to the planning rules with mandatory height and set-back controls on riverside developments. As Planning Minister Guy said, “[this] protection of the Yarra…will be a lasting civic legacy for future generations”.

Project partners: Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Boroondara and Yarra Councils

Finalist

Do Trees Save Rivers?, Alluvium

This project influenced state riparian policy by demonstrating the cost benefits of well executed, large-scale riparian revegetation projects in protecting streams from erosion during floods. The learnings informed the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into flood mitigation infrastructure and will assist ongoing waterway revegetation programs.

Project partners: Deptartment of Environment and Primary Industries, North East Catchment Management Authority

Innovation in waterway management

Winner

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems National Atlas, Sinclair Knight Merz

This project led to Australia’s first maps of known and potential Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems across Australia, capturing both ecological and hydrogeological information using remotely sensed data. In doing so it established a common language for Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems.

Project partners: National Water Commission, Bureau Of Meteorology, CSIRO, COGHA

Finalists

Barwon Tidal Barrage Fishway, Corangamite CMA

With two years of planning this modular, low cost and efficient approach led to construction of a fish ladder on the Barwon estuary in only eight days. Fish were waiting by and used the ladder in its first hour of construction!

Project partners: DEPI, Fisheries Victoria, Parks Victoria

Healthy Waterways Strategy, Melbourne Water

By using a ‘trajectories’ approach to prioritising investment in waterway management by considering drivers of change – such as climate change and urbanisation – rather than one focused on assets or risk. This strategy assists in identifying actions that are most likely to affect positive change

Index of Stream Condition, Dept Of Environment And Primary Industries

The Index of Stream Condition was the first complete and comprehensive study of the condition of rivers anywhere in Australia and the innovation lies in the use of remote sensing to assess streamside zone and physical form components. Over 29,000 km of river network have been assessed.

Project partners : Catchment management authorities of Victoria

Involving Community in Waterway Management

Winner

Loddon Stressed River Project, North Central CMA

The CMA has worked with the community to protect the riparian vegetation of the Loddon River including holding over 50 events and in the process engaging 1150 participants.  There is evidence that the project participants are more knowledgeable of river health issues, and importantly are implementing recommended riparian practices without negatively affecting their agricultural activities.

Project partners: DEPI, Parks Victoria

Finalists

Frog Monitoring Program, Melbourne Water

An ongoing community based frog monitoring program that has attracted community involvement through its fun, accessible and engaging approach. While collecting data used to inform waterway strategies, works and data gaps.

Indigenous Communities Project, Goulburn Broken CMA

This project showcases initiatives undertaken with traditional owners to help conserve key traditional land within Barmah Wetland. Key achievements include improved understanding of Traditional Owners landscape, waterways and wildlife values, delivery of on-grounds works and development of trust between CMA staff and the two traditional owners in the region.

Project partners: Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Waterwatch across Victoria, Corangamite CMA

Creating an informed community through Waterwatch education across Victoria. In 2012/13, 22 coordinators supported 534 volunteers to monitor 1470 sites across Victoria, supporting schools, community education and facilitating partnerships between government, business and the community.

Project partners: DEPI, catchment management authorities of Victoria

Outstanding Waterway Management Project

Winners

Western Lagoons Restoration, Melbourne Water

Restoring a former sewage treatment pond in Western Treatment Plant (Ramsar listed) to a marsh wetland required much planning, especially when you have a large number of protected species on site. Through careful planning and timing during construction, this project successfully constructed a 14ha marsh wetland and completed 30 ha of habitat management and vegetation restoration. As an added bonus, this project was delivered significantly under budget.

Glenelg River Protection, Glenelg Hopkins CMA

Building on a larger river rehab program, this project completed works to improve 34kms of Glenelg River including 56km fencing and 109 Ha revegetation, working with 11 Landholders to achieve this. This project has used innovative, locally-designed flood-proof fencing and also trialled drone technology for monitoring and evaluation.

Project partners: DEPI, Alluvium, White Gums Australia, Wando Vale Landcare, local landholders

Finalists

Dights Falls Fishway, Melbourne Water

This ambitious project successfully rebuilt a historic weir and installed a new vertical slot fishway. In an extremely high profile area, facing adverse weather conditions, Melbourne Water worked closely with the community and the traditional owners to complete this project. Installation of the fishway has opened up 3000km of upstream fish passage. A targeted monitoring and evaluation program has been established to learn more about the fish moving through this new fishway.

Project partners: City of Yarra, Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation and Cultural Heritage Council Inc

Genoa River Rehabilitation, East Gippsland CMA

Faced with extensive vegetation removal over many years, resulting in a mobile sand slug in the bed of the Genoa River, a strategic rehabilitation program was undertaken. Focusing on implementing management interventions to encourage natural river recovery over many years, this nomination focuses on the resulting ‘natural recovery phase’ the Genoa river now finds itself in. The improved resilience of the river was demonstrated in recent flood events, with flood impacts and associated costs being minimised – a very different story to prior flood events when riparian vegetation was at a minimum.

Project partners: Genoa River Interstate Liaison Committee, Parks Victoria, Southern Rivers CMA, National Parks And Wildlife Service (NSW), DEPI,  Far East Victoria Landcare Network, Wangarabel-Nungatta Landcare

Gunbower and Kerang Wetlands, North Central CMA

This project established a Wetland Enhancement Crew to complete works to aid in the delivery of environmental water to maintain the health of River Red Gum forest in Gunbower. The onground outputs of this project include fencing off Gunbower creek frontages, targeted pest plant control, installation of a fishway and providing Environmental flow recommendations

Project partners: Murray Darling Basin Authority, DEPI, Australian Government  Caring For Our Country

Improving the Yarra River, Melbourne Water

This project aiming to rehabilitate 4kms of the Yarra River required significant landholder negotiations to be successfully completed. Works included 3km fencing, 4km targeted weed control, revegetation (tubestock and direct seeder), Six instream habitat structures and Pest animal control. To manage an ongoing threat of stock impact, significant time and effort was invested to take steps to cancel a crown frontage license.

Waterway Management Leadership Award

Winner

Dr Jane Doolan

Dr Jane Doolan won the Inaugural RBMS award for Leadership in waterway management. In over 30 years in the water sector Jane has made a remarkable contribution to the transformation of the waterway management industry in Victoria – think of the CMAs, the Index of stream condition, the Waterway Management Strategy, environmental water, and the Basin Plan, her influence is everywhere in this industry.

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