I won’t be the first person to tell you it’s been an interesting year! Certainly from the perspective of the South-East Queensland (SEQ) RBMS Chapter, it’s been highly challenging with most of the proposed ‘live’ events put on hold. We started the year off with a bang, hosting a ‘Best of the River Symposium’ seminar that showcased some of the best local presenters at that conference. It was an extremely well attended event that covered a broad range of river management issues in South-East Queensland, Australia, and the rest of the world. This was to be followed by our special visit from Professor Ian Rutherfurd. Unfortunately, the Queensland borders were closing just as Ian was due to fly up so this was postponed. Since then, the SEQ chapter has focussed on assisting the wider RBMS community in delivering national web-based events, most notably the RiverFest. Janice touches more on this event below but I was honoured to be involved in its organisation and my highlight was being able to host Ian Rutherfurd’s keynote of an international ‘conference’ from a caravan by the beach. This is not something that you’d have been able to say last year.
We finished off the year by helping QWMN with their young professionals’ event, which was an in-person event in Brisbane. This fact, along with the success of the web-based RiverFest really gives me hope and excitement for the coming year, with a range of web-based and in-person events being planned. In conjunction with the other RBMS chapters we’ll be hosting a breakfast with the birds event, we plan on flying Ian up again, we have a web-based cross-border river management event, and of course will have considerable involvement in the next ASM.
Have a wonderful festive season and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year!
Like all our chapters, our growing presence in NSW was initiated by a group of enthusiastic delegates who met at the 9th Australian Stream Management Conference in Hobart (9ASM).
For the NSW Chapter, the year kicked off with the NSW Forum, where researchers, practitioners and the local community came together at the University of New England in Armidale to talk about rivers, streams and catchments in Northern NSW. Thanks to the organising committee, presenters and sponsors (2rog Consulting, University of New England, AU, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, NSW DPI Fisheries) for making this event a success.
With plans for further face to face events throughout the year, we had to rethink how we connected with our RBMS community. This has meant working more closely with our Chapter Leads and committee to create online content and experiences throughout the year including the Taste of NSW Forum webinar and Riverfest.
Although we all love a face to face event, it has been amazing to connect with so many people online and to hear about the challenges and inspiring work occurring throughout Australia and the world.
Thinking back we were very fortunate to have been able to come together at the start of the year in Armidale and from the initial discussions in Hobart at 9ASM, it has been great to see connections grow in NSW even though we haven’t been able to get together in person. A big thanks you to everyone who has reached out throughout the year and to everyone who has given their time to RBMS. I’m looking forward to building the NSW Chapter with you all leading up to 10ASM in NSW next year.
Stay safe, have a ‘relax’ and I hope to see you out by a river sometime soon!
This year has been indeed challenging, but what year isn’t filled with challenges designed to help us grow and adapt to lead a brighter future. Looking back on this year, I am filled with hope that moving forward we will continue to drive change, be innovative in finding solutions and stay connected to each other and to country, taking in the good of what matters most. The Victorian chapter kicked off the 2020 year with a Breakfast with the birds at Reedy Swamp, enjoying delicious treats and fantastic bird watching while we discussed the importance of environmental water and providing refuge during dry climatic periods to support biodiversity. Looking back on the difficult summer of 2019/20 as we come into 2020/21 bushfire danger season, I re-watched the Bushfire and Waterways webinar from May, where East Gippsland CMA’s Rachael Brownstein shared her experience working and living through the fires. I hope we can maintain a level of conservation optimism and bounce forward in the face of adversity and build resilience to cope with the conditions we may face.
Covid conditions, despite the feeling of isolation, did provide an opportunity to transform the way we communicate and reach our members with an online transformation, as we found ourselves newly emerged in the webinar world. We hosted events looking at data visualisation and water markets to coping with mental health challenges in river basin management. But a true highlight for me would be the RBMS RiverFest (freely available on RBMSau youtube if you missed it). It was a full day filled with knowledge sharing and experiences, looking at our communities and their waterways, dryland rivers, cultural water, extreme events and keynote speakers Prof Ian Rutherfurd and Dr Siwan Lovett.
So despite Melbourne’s ring of steel and working from home since March, I have felt very fortunate to have my good health, to have still been able to connect with my family, friends and like-minded individuals, and now my freedom to explore and connect with nature returned, just in time for Christmas. I hope moving forward we can look back on 2020 and be thankful for all we do have and remember that for 2021.
Happy Holidays from your Victorian Chapter Lead