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Managing a river

Managing a river

Wayne Tennant

Wayne Tennant, Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority
Wayne Tennant, Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority. Photo: Nick Drayson.

'The Catchment Management Authority looks at flows within the system, and is now the manager of the environmental water reserve. One of the major tasks we'll have in the immediate future is to look at improving flow regimes for native fish and other values in the Goulburn River system. Goulburn-Murray Water, who are the rural water authority, are the responsible agency for the management of flows.

'Our catchment is about 2 per cent of the Murray-Darling Basin, and I think we contribute something like 11 per cent of the water. Like all streams in Australia, the flow is highly variable.

'You've got to be mindful that the Goulburn River is regulated, and provides many values to the regional economy, regional community, the state and the Basin. It's a healthy working river.

'It's not just the people in the Goulburn catchment that actually appreciate the Goulburn River. There are thousands of visitors that come to recreate on the upper Goulburn, boating and fishing. That also transfers into the lower reaches of the Goulburn, where significant fishing is undertaken, and local boating. Also, agriculture and irrigation all rely on the Goulburn River system.'

Audio and transcript

audio_w15 Listen to more from Wayne about looking after the Goulburn (MP3 344kb)
Duration: 1 minute, 27 seconds

Since I've been working - and I think it's through the efforts of our communities - I think that there has been a big improvement in the condition of the Goulburn. There's been a lot of work undertaken on the main stem of the stream, and also tributaries, by communities and partners, improving the condition of the frontages. Some of the activities to the detriment of our streams - removal of woody debris, destruction of habitat, taking vegetation away from the frontage or riparian lands - is now no longer a common practice. So I think there has been significant improvement, but in saying that I think we can still make improvements into the future.

One of the things we did as part of developing our regional river health strategy was to have communities identify what they felt were the important assets along our rivers. The Goulburn we split into around 15 or 16 reaches, and fishing and fish were one of [...] the community visualised them or identified them as high assets.

One of the key things is to look at getting a range of activities. It's not just going to be improving flows that's going to take the Goulburn River to a healthier system. It's not just going to be control of pollutants, it's not just going to be by improving the health of our floodplains. It'll require a combination of those activities.