Bird

Yea River users identify weed control as a waterway management priority

Friday 27 September, 2013
Opportunities to observe birds, fish and vegetation, enjoy a stroll and a secure water supply were what people who use the Yea River valued about it the most, according to a recent Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) survey.

Opportunities to observe birds, fish and vegetation, enjoy a stroll and a secure water supply were what people who use the Yea River valued about it the most, according to a recent Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) survey.

As part of its Hooray for the Yea project the Goulburn Broken CMA carried out the survey to identify what the local community and river users valued most about the waterway.

"The Yea River has been identified as a priority river by the Victorian Government because of its high environmental values including the presence of the endangered fish, the Macquarie perch, as well as its recreational and economic values," Goulburn Broken CMA River Health Officer Kirsten Roszak said.

"The State Government funding we received for the Hooray for the Yea project will be used to improve the river's health and fish populations, particularly of native threatened species such as the Macquarie Perch, through on-ground works and community involvement."

Seeking local community input is an important focus of the Goulburn Broken CMA's new Regional Catchment Strategy.

"To help prioritise activities, we recognised that it was important to tap into local knowledge and understanding of the river's history and its importance to the community, and encourage local input into the direction and management of the project," Ms Roszak said.

Ms Roszak said 37 people completed the survey, with the majority (75%) of respondents either living in Yea, by the river or close to the river.

"The top three responses for how people used the river were walking along it (39%), observing nature (34%), and for water supply (24%)," she said.

"It was also pleasing that only 18% of people considered the river's condition as poor, with most people saying they believed it was in good (35%), reasonable (32%) or very good (3%) condition."

While most (89%) of respondents had heard of Macquarie Perch, only about a third realised populations had been found in the Yea River.

"We also asked people about what they thought were the biggest threats to the river's health," Ms Roszak said. "Stock access, carp levels, rubbish dumping and erosion were all mentioned but the overwhelming concern was about the presence of weeds such as blackberry and honeysuckle.

"As a result of this feedback we will now prioritise a honeysuckle control program and revegetation works along the river focusing on the section of river through the township."

Ms Roszak said people would notice contractors working along the river in the coming months.

"We have written to landholders living near the river to let them know about the work. Landholders with river frontage will also be informed on how they can access incentives to manage weeds, and protect and enhance the river banks by carrying out revegetation and fencing works," she said.

The project complements other river health improvement activities undertaken by the community, including through the Yea Wetlands Committee honeysuckle program and by landholders, schools and Landcare.

"The community's input in to shaping Hooray for the Yea project priorities has been invaluable," Ms Roszak said.

"We look forward to continuing to work in this way with other communities here in the Upland Slopes region of the Catchment to identify priorities for improving the health of other waterways such as the King Parrot Creek and Acheron and Goulburn rivers."

To find out more about the Hooray for the Yea and other Goulburn Broken CMA programs please visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au or phone 03 5736 0100.

Honeysuckle infestation on the Yea River at Providence Bridge