Wheat

The Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy Draft links people to the landscape

Monday 24 September, 2012
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been leading the renewal of the Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) since December 2011. As they approach the deadline for submission and endorsement by the Victorian Government, the Goulburn Broken CMA wishes to thank the community for their input to date.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been leading the renewal of the Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) since December 2011. As they approach the deadline for submission and endorsement by the Victorian Government, the Goulburn Broken CMA wishes to thank the community for their input to date.

The Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) is the primary integrated framework that guides land, water and biodiversity management in the Goulburn Broken Catchment to enable the Goulburn Broken CMA and its partners to achieve outcomes in line with Australian and Victorian Government Policy.

Recently the public consultation phase for the RCS Draft closed, with the Authority now having the large task of collating the comments in preparation for submitting the final version. The final version of the Goulburn Broken RCS is to be tabled with the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change and the Minister for Water on October 19, 2012.

Since the start of the RCS Renewal process, the Goulburn Broken CMA has been engaging with the catchment community and partner agencies all over the region as the RCS Manager, Ms Helen Murdoch explains.

"The process started with nearly 100 individual interviews and group discussions. These were held around the catchment to find out what the community consider to be the major issues for their area".

The information collected from these interviews was then combined with socio–economic research to help describe six distinct systems or sub-catchments. These systems are referred to as Social Ecological Systems (SES).

The data collected was then tested with the community via Community meetings held in each of the SES areas around the Catchment. Meetings were held in Kilmore, Kinglake, Dookie, Yea, Mansfield, Nathalia, Tatura, and Marysville. The Urban SES characteristics were tested with Community Groups such as GVEG, U3A, Landcare and RiverConnect.

"During these community meetings the community had the opportunity to review and validate the information collected. It was a really valuable process as we had the opportunity to hear from the community about their local issues and those issues considered to be catchment wide" continues Ms Murdoch

The names for the various SES were determined and validated by the community during these discussions. The six SES for the Goulburn Broken catchment are (from North to South) the Agricultural Floodplains, the Productive Plains, the Uplands Slopes, the Commuting Hills, the Southern Forests and the Urban Centres (including Shepparton, Benalla and Seymour). So over time the Goulburn Broken RCS has moved from the two landscape definitions for the catchment of Irrigation and Dryland to the six more prescriptive SES's better describing the linkages between the environment and people in the landscape.

"During our consultation phase it was interesting to hear that weeds, pest animals, and water quality remain as issues consistent around the entire catchment. Whereas it was clear that each SES had different specific issues pertinent to that part of the Catchment, for example, building development and fire risk are of concern to the Commuting Hills and Southern Forests" explains Ms Murdoch.

The Goulburn Broken CMA is working to create a better environment, which will also provide economic and social benefits to the community. The Goulburn Broken CMA values the input from the catchment's community into natural resource management.

"The Goulburn Broken CMA works to foster an integrated, partnership approach to natural resource management in the Goulburn Broken Catchment. Community engagement is an integral part of the development and implementation of all the Goulburn Broken CMA's strategies and programs" explains CEO, Mr Chris Norman.

Whilst the public consultation phase has now closed, you can still view a copy of the latest version of the RCS draft and provide comments via the discussion tabs on the WeConnect.gbcma.vic.gov.au site.

To obtain a copy of the RCS draft, please visit weconnect.gbcma.vic.gov.au or call 03 5820 1100.