Riparian works make Broken River more resilient

Friday 22 March, 2013
Revegetation and rehabilitation work undertaken along the upper Broken River over the past decade have helped reduce the effects of weather extremes.

Revegetation and rehabilitation work undertaken along the upper Broken River over the past decade have helped reduce the effects of weather extremes.

The work, undertaken by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and local landholders, involved fencing off water frontages, bank stabilisation, revegetation and removal of willows and other pest species.

Goulburn Broken CMA works team leader Geoff Brennan said the work, primarily done through the Goulburn Broken CMA's drought employment program in the mid-2000s, had stood the test of time.

"A 5km stretch of the Broken River above the Mansfield Whitfield Road bridge near Mansfield was cleared of willows and revegetated during 2006," Mr Brennan said.

"The drought was at its peak and landholders were doing it tough so understandably this kind of work was not really a priority although they understood its importance. When the State Government funding for the drought employment program came through it meant we could go back to the landholders with a skilled crew who were able fence off river frontages and undertake re-vegetation following willow works."

Mr Brennan said the work took about 12 weeks to complete.

"At the time, all people could see was the bare river banks and not surprisingly they was a bit of scepticism about what we trying to achieve," Mr Brennan said. "But if you go there today, it looks fantastic. Landholder buy-in and co-operation was essential and it's thanks to the ongoing management of the river frontage by the five landholders whose properties front this section of the Broken that the project has been such a success."

The rehabilitated section of the river is adjacent to the historic property Dueran, where past and present owners have also undertaken work to stabilise river banks and fence off waterways.

Dueran farm manager, Matt Vasey, said the family recognised the benefits of protecting the 4km stretch of the Broken River that runs through the 828 ha lamb and beef producing property.

"Not only is it good for the environment, the river is an important asset and by looking after it we add to the value of the property," Mr Vasey said.

Extensive bank stabilisation work done on the property after the 2009 floods stood up well when heavy rain, of up to 90mm, fell across the area recently.

"Other sections of the Broken where we've previously done revegetation and restoration work also recovered well after the floods of 2011 and 2012," Mr Brennan said.

"The types of species we've planted, such as blackwood, river red gums, river tree and bottlebrushes and native grasses 'bend' with flow during floods but bounce back, which means that banks are less likely to wash away or collapse."

For more information about current River Health Incentive Programs, visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

The Broken River at the commencement works

The same stretch of the Broken River in 2013.