River Projects -- The Rakali Project

Benalla & District Environment Group

The Rakali Project

It’s not often that a local environment group names a campaign after a rat. But this is exactly what the Benalla and District Environment Group (BDEG) have done to help develop more interest in the health of Benalla Lake and the Broken River.

Called “The Rakali Project”, the project is named after the Rakali (otherwise known as a Water Rat), a native aquatic mammal that lives along many of Victoria’s creeks, rivers and bays. Similar in size and colour to the platypus, it can be see swimming on the surface of many local waterways in early morning or late afternoon.

“One of our members suggested we should use the Rakali as our icon,” said Christine Holmes, BDEG president. “The native Rakali is living here in our lake and river, and we should all be asking ourselves ‘How should we look after our lake and other waterways to help protect our native plants and animals?’”

Funded by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) as part of the “Improving flow and habitat in the Broken River” project, the project also has the support of the Benalla Rural City Council.

Through the project BDEG aims to address important environmental issues that affect the health of the lake and the Broken River. Pollution, erosion, weeds and rubbish are just a few.

Community support is a key to the project’s success, and judging on the number of local residents that attended a recent launch and family-fun day, there is strong local interest in the project. But Mrs Holmes believes not enough local residents take responsibility. “We believe there are people who are aware of the issues that the lake and river faces, and people who don’t connect with it at all. I think we all need to take some responsibility for our waterways.”

For further information about the Rakali project contact Christine Holmes on 5762 5638 or email ttownben@iinet.com.au.