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Catchment News

29 October 2013


Corangamite CMA's Jannes Demetrious and coastal project participant Russell Mumme.


Corangamite CMA's Saltmarsh Protection Project has been recognised as a finalist in the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence 2013 in the natural environment category.

The project which protects the habitat of one of Victoria’s most threatened birds, the Orange-bellied Parrot, has also generated strong interest from coastal land managers living on and near saltmarsh vegetation.

Twenty-five landholders have contracts to protect coastal saltmarsh vegetation at 49 sites covering 1332 hectares across four Victorian CMAs along the coast.

Corangamite CMA manages the project in partnership with Glenelg-Hopkins CMA, Port Phillip Westernport CMA and West Gippsland CMA. The project is jointly-funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.

See below the full story of another Saltmarsh Protection Project participant, Bob Swinburn.  


The Australian Government has announced $11.76 million of Caring for Our Country funding for five Corangamite CMA projects over the next five years.

The projects funded as part of the allocation include:

$3.3 million for the Corangamite CMA Coastal Program for multi-scale incentives for land managers and community groups to deliver on-ground conservation actions to protect the ecological values of coastal Ramsar sites.

$4 million for the Victorian Volcanic Plains and Western District Lakes Recovery Program to protect EPBC-listed species and communities of the Victorian Volcanic Plains and Western District lakes Ramsar sites.

$2.3 million for the Corangamite CMA Land Health Program for demonstrating sustainable farming practices. It involves regional Landcare groups and networks and industry groups including Southern Farming Systems and WestVic Dairy, and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries. 

$1.2 million for the Corangamite CMA Indigenous Program to support Indigenous communities to participate in environment management. It involves regional Landcare groups and networks, partner agencies and community groups.

$795,000 for the Regional Landcare Facilitator Program to engage with land managers, local and regional Landcare groups, farming systems and grower groups and related community organisations to support the community to achieve sustainable agriculture and land management practices.


Timboon dairy farmer Nicholas Renyard has joined the Corangamite CMA board.

The Coalition Government announced Mr Renyard's appointment and the reappointment of Corangamite CMA's Chairman Alice Knight and three current board members Richard Riordan, Marie Thornton and Hugh Stewart.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said CMAs conducted valuable onground work in their local catchments, which helped to sustain Victoria’s ecosystems and contributed significantly to agricultural productivity and environmental health.

“CMAs have an important role to play in preparing and coordinating the implementation of regional catchment strategies and advising government of regional priorities on land, biodiversity and waterway management,” Mr Smith said.

“The local knowledge and independent expertise of these new board members will provide an invaluable contribution to Victoria’s natural resource management and engagement with community groups, landholders, farmers and businesses.

Corangamite CMA Board Chairman Alice Knight said she thanked retiring board member Tony Mahoney for his valuable contribution during his four years on the board.

Other Corangamite CMA board members include Patrick O'Callaghan, Virginia Wallace, James Dennis and Ian Crook.


Beautiful Lake Connewarre on the Bellarine Peninsula captured at sunset is a pretty impressive sight. Corangamite CMA Environment Water Manager Jayden Woolley took this photograph after a community information session at Taits Point on the edge of the Ramsar-listed lake.


Corangamite CMA is developing its new Corangamite Waterway Strategy 2014-22 (CWS) and community involvement is a major part the document.

Many groups have already contributed to developing the draft strategy and there’s further opportunity for community input during a public consultation period when the draft is released, early in 2014.

The strategy will provide the direction for waterway management in the Corangamite region for the next eight years. This strategy:
• is the key planning document for the Corangamite CMA and other NRM agencies responsible for waterway management
• provides guidance for regional decision-making, investment, management issues, and the roles and responsibilities of management agencies
• identifies  rivers, estuaries and wetlands of high environmental, social, cultural and economic value to the community
• includes a detailed works/activities program with targets to protect and enhance waterways.

Once complete, Corangamite CMA staff will work in partnership with land managers, community groups, local government and landholders involved in waterway management or activities to improve waterway condition to implement the strategy.

Corangamite CMA plan to release a draft strategy in March and work in the lead up to the release date includes:
• prioritising waterways
• undertaking risk assessment of threats to values, and identifying management actions
• developing detailed work plans in consultation with stakeholders
• release draft strategy for public comment in March 2014.

The Victorian Government fund this strategy development.


Corangamite CMA's new Community Advisory Group get down work. The group pictured above from back left  includes, Simon Falkiner, Cam Nicholson, Grant Palmer, Peter Dahlhaus, Sean Fagan, CMA board and advisory group member James Dennis. Front right CMA chairman and group member Alice Knight, CMA board member Patrick O'Callaghan, observer, and Lizzie Corke. Absent Peter Codd, Trevor Dess and Gavan Mathieson.   

The advisory group will work in partnership with the Corangamite CMA Board, management and staff providing community input on natural resource management.

The group's responsibilities includes providing advice that reflects the community needs and sharing their community, agency, industry and specialist knowledge.


Eurack farmer John Ingram, pictured above, is one of 21 district landholders taking part in a regional environment project to protect biodiversity.

Mr Ingram’s site is one 28 sites covering 890 hectares included in the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Conservation and Carbon Capture Project.

Local landholders work in partnership with Corangamite CMA staff developing five-year environment management plans for their site and receive a financial incentive to carry out works including revegetation, establishing wildlife corridors, fencing, protecting paddock trees, pest plant and animal control, strategic grazing and hydrology restoration.

Mr Ingram, a Landcare member who has already completed other environment projects, said he could already envisage the benefit of establishing a plantation along the edge of a saline lake on his property to address soils erosion and damage from the salty lake.

He said the plant buffer zone would provide shelter for stock as well providing habitat for wildlife.

“It’s challenging conditions here with the lack of water and limestone soil. This project involves putting in native grasses and trees to reclaim the soil damaged by the salt coming off the lake. It will help offset the soil erosion.”

The five-year plan includes site preparation, which involves removing high-threat woody weeds to protect plains saltmarsh and revegetate an area of plains grassy woodlands.

“The CMA staff worked the plan out together with us. Tapping into CMA expertise gets you motivated and gets you active; we would not have done it on our own.” Mr Ingram said.

The Australian Government fund the Conservation and Carbon Capture Project through its Biodiversity Fund.

For more information about Corangamite CMA biodiversity protection projects go


The future health of Victoria’s rivers, estuaries and wetlands received a boost with the Victorian Coalition Government launching a new eight-year strategy that will improve the environmental management of waterways.

Minister for Water Peter Walsh released the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy and also launched an Instagram competition to encourage greater public connection with Victoria’s waterways.

“Whether it’s fishing, swimming, irrigation, water sports or just enjoying the natural environment, Victorians appreciate and use their waterways for many different reasons,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Victorian Waterways Management Strategy aims to improve the health of our waterways so they can continue to provide the environmental, social, cultural and economic values that are important to everyone.

To coincide with the strategy’s release, Mr Walsh also launched the Love Our Waterways Instagram campaign encouraging Victorians to get involved in caring for Victoria’s waterways.

Victorians can submit pictures of themselves enjoying Victoria’s waterways via an Instagram competition for a chance to win a $1000 houseboat experience on the Murray River.

Simply follow @depivictoria, upload the picture with the location enabled and include #lovewaterways in the caption.

For more information and competition terms, conditions and privacy requirements see


Thirteen Corangamite region environment groups will share $204,000 in funding as part of $2 million distributed through the Victorian Landcare Grants.

The Victorian Government funding, distributed through the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, will help local Landcare groups carry out on-ground environmental projects to improve the health of the region's land and waterways.

Projects include weed and pest control programs, seed collection, planting indigenous vegetation and protecting remnant vegetation and wetlands.

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the grants would give Landcare groups across Corangamite the support needed for projects on public and private land. Each project would assist in protecting and enhancing their local environment.

“I congratulate these Landcare volunteers for the important contribution they make in protecting and enhancing our environment at the grassroots level.

“Each project shows a strong commitment to improving the environment for the benefit of the community and demonstrates the inspiring volunteer spirit that is at the very heart of Landcare,” he said.

To strengthen the volunteer movement the Victorian Government is also providing 34 Victorian Landcare Grants to local groups to ensure a strong Landcare base and enable volunteers to focus on their hand-on environment role. 

Community groups receiving a 2013 Landcare grant: 

•Carlisle River Community Group
•Heytesbury District Landcare Network
•Leslie Manor Landcare Group
•Lismore Land Protection Group
•Mount Leura and Mount Sugarloaf Development Committee
•Murroon Landcare Group Newfield Valley Landcare Group
•Rotary Club of Colac West
•Upper Barwon Landcare Group.


One of Australia’s most threatened species, the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot is getting a little help from a friend to survive.

Bob Swinburn, pictured above, was born on the Wallington property he farms on the edge of Lake Connewarre, on the Bellarine Peninsula, and he has spent his life observing the patterns and changes in the environment.

Mr Swinburn, has a grazing and grape growing property on the south-east shore of the lake, and as well as farming he’s now working towards preserving the wildlife habitat for the Orange-bellied Parrot - a species with fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild.

Mr Swinburn is working in partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Catchment Authority on the Saltmarsh Protection Project. He is fencing an area just over 20 hectares along a small creek that flows into the lake, and an area along the lake’s shoreline. This will help protect vital food for the few remaining parrots that migrate here in summer.

Other wildlife attracted to the area includes migratory birds that travel thousands of kilometres from the northern hemisphere to call Lake Connewarre home, spending the summer months resting and refueling for the return trip. The international Ramsar Convention protecting waterways of significance recognises lake’s environmental importance. This is a global environmental treaty adopted in 1971in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

The value of this environmental asset is not lost on Mr Swinburn and its value is reinforced everyday as looks at the lake from his kitchen window. And although he appreciates what he has on his doorstep, he’s keen not to sound trite when he said he wanted to do something about looking after it.

He said he recognised it was a fragile environment to farm in and that some traditional approaches to agriculture were unsustainable. In the past, timber collectors cleared any fallen trees removing all trees and logs. These days he’s installing dead stumps and logs for habitat for wildlife.

“If you can make a living and at the same time look after the place that’s a fortunate position to be in,” he said.

“I’m now seeing wallabies back and blue-tongues. The hollow branches are left for the wildlife these days, for the lizards and snakes and other native animals. We’ve had sea eagles nest here and wedge tails, and I’m aware Lake Connewarre’s significance as Ramsar area and the birds that fly here from the northern hemisphere.

“I’ve always been interested in birds around the lake and around the farm and I was given an Australian birdlife book in 1989 and I mark the birds I identify, and the birds I see for the first time.”

Mr Swinburn is one of 25 landholders with contracts to protect coastal saltmarsh vegetation at 49 sites covering 1332 hectares across four Victorian CMAs along the coast.

The landholders work with CMA staff developing five-year environment management plans for their site and receive a financial incentive to carry out works including revegetation, establishing wildlife corridors, fencing, pest plant and animal control and strategic grazing.

Mr Swinburn has done similar projects in the past and plans to have the fencing and trees planted for this project completed within a year, “I’ve already completed one area I’m just waiting on the trees to go in."

For more information about the Saltmarsh Protection Project funded by the Australian and Victorian governments go to


The Corangamite CMA Anglesea River 2012-2020 Estuary Management Plan is now available to the public. 

The document includes information on:

•the Anglesea River catchment area
•an estuary land managers map
•helpful facts sheets.

As well as a list of priority actions covering four areas - amenity and recreation including fishing, biodiversity, information and knowledge, and integrated management.

The estuary plan funded by the Victorian Government is available on the Corangamite CMA website for more information or to read the document in full go to Anglesea River 2012-2020 Estuary Management Plan.


VOLUNTEERS RECOGNISED: Corangamite CMA region's Landcare volunteers were recognised at the Victorian Landcare Awards at a ceremony at Government House in Melbourne.


A Tesbury farmer and a young environment volunteer are in the running for a national prize after receiving a Victorian award for their effort to improve land health.

Tesbury dairy farmer Craig Davis, and his wife Tanya, and Stony Rises Land Management Network secretary Ammie Jackson were among nine national category award winners to receive a 2013 Victorian Landcare Award from the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith and Minister for Agriculture and Water Peter Walsh, at a ceremony at Government House in Melbourne yesterday.

Craig and Tanya won the Innovation and Sustainable Agriculture award and Ammie won the Innovative Young Landcare Leader award. The two were among five award winners from the Corangamite region.

The awards recognise those individuals and groups who demonstrate that the Landcare spirit of working together continues to thrive as much today, as it did when Landcare first started 27 years ago. The awards recognise the effort of these volunteers, for their dedication and commitment to improving and protecting our environment.

Other regional award winners include:
 Landcare Coordinator award winner Mandy Coulson from the Surf Coast and Inland Plains Network
 the Coastcare award went to the Friends of the Bluff group for their work repairing the coastline on the Barwon Bluff
 the Landcare Network Award went to the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group recognising the volunteer group’s 20 years’ work improving the environment.


Seven people registered interest to become EstuaryWatch volunteers following a joint CMA Estuaries Unmasked seminar at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

Warrnambool artist Rachel Peters shared her story and images from the Lake Bolac Eel Festival Healing Walk along the Hopkins River. Six artists, including Rachel, participated in a walk from Lake Bolac to the Hopkins Falls near Warrnambool which provided inspiration for works in the Kuyang exhibition at the gallery.

Warrnambool Art Gallery Curator of Exhibitions and Outreach Gareth Colliton spoke about gallery projects with a community and environment focus such as, Flows and Catchments hidden hiSTORIES.

The night included an EstuaryWatch program summary to community members interested in volunteering for the Hopkins River EstuaryWatch group and the soon to be established Merri River EstuaryWatch group.

Glenelg Hopkins CMA EstuaryWatch Co-ordinator Kerry Cheeseman hosted the event with support from Corangamite CMA EstuaryWatch Coordinator Rose Herben.  

She said it was incredibly interesting to see what aspects of the landscape inspired Rachel's artwork and what stories she took from the journey.

Pictured from left Warrnambool Art Gallery Curator Gareth Colliton, Warrnambool artist Rachel Peters and and GHCMA EstuaryWatch Coordinator Kerry Cheeseman.


INNOVATION: 2013 South West Soils Conference guest speaker Fiona McKenzie.

The benefits of improving pasture management, grazing techniques and implementing new research in farming were topics up for discussion at the 2013 South West Soil Conference.

More than 100 people heard from a range of speakers on topics including improving soil carbon, grazing management, improving soil function over time, fertiliser management and innovation in agriculture.

Event MC Declan McDonald said the conference gave participants information they could use at their farms and businesses.

“One of the key messages is that we can improve agricultural soils by carefully monitoring and evaluating land management practices,” he said.

Speakers highlighted the importance of undertaking trials and soil tests to improve knowledge of local soil conditions, and the value of collaborative research.

This event was funded by the Australian and Victorian governments through the Corangamite and Glenelg Hopkins CMAs and hosted by the Heytesbury District Landcare Network.


The Corangamite CMA Waterwatch team hosted its annual Creek Connections event as part of National Water Week and celebrations for 20 years of the regional water health monitoring program - Waterwatch.

The day included a variety of community groups and partner agencies including Wathaurung Elder Bryon Powell who performed a welcome smoking ceremony and shared his knowledge of Wathaurung culture with eager students.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee provided two fun activities, a recycle relay and planting along Spring Creek.
Ecologic led students through and Estuary Discovery of Spring Creek. Our EstuaryWatch team shared some fun estuary science with help from Barry the Bream.

Corangamite CMA staff shared the Story of Spring Creek and  students learnt about catchment impacts and what communities could do to care for our catchments.

The Waterwatch conducted a water bug survey and showed students the wonderful diversity of creatures in the region's waterways.

The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre staff had students measuring fish and learning about the impact of marine debris as well as getting up close to live Yabbies.


Celebrate: Corangamite CMA Regional Landcare Facilitator Karen O'Keefe, Leigh Catchment Group's Kate O'Bryan and CMA Chairman Alice Knight.    


Corangamite CMA Landcare team recognised its local Landcarers as part of Landcare Week 2013.

Activities included the  Corangamite Landcare Award photography exhibition in the foyer at the Colac Otway Performing Arts and Culture Centre and the opportunity to meet our Landcare staff to learn more about Landcare and how to get involved.

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