Plan to manage Barwon River’s future

June 22, 2024 BY

The initial focus of the Barwon Flagship is the Upper Barwon section. Photo: SUPPLIED

A PLAN setting the strategic direction for the management and protection of the Barwon River for the next three decades has been released.

Developed by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with Barwon Water and the Upper Barwon Landcare Network, the Barwon Flagship Waterway Management Plan guides the delivery of the Barwon Flagship project.

The large-scale, long-term rehabilitation project aims to improve riparian and waterway health in the Barwon Catchment, while promoting community involvement.

The Barwon Flagship Waterway project began in July 2021 through Victorian government investment to improve catchment and waterway health across regional Victoria and the delivery of the Rivers of the Barwon Action Plan.

The Barwon River was identified as one of the state’s Flagship Waterways in 2016.

Corangamite CMA general manager of strategy and planning services Amy Leith said the initial focus of the Barwon Flagship is the Upper Barwon section, which includes the east and west Branches of the Barwon River from below the West Barwon Reservoir to their confluence, and a portion of Dewing Creek.

“This focus area has been prioritised due to the significant impact of weeds, specifically willows and Glyceria which cause choke points along the river – these chokes inhibit water flow downstream and currently restrict our ability to deliver important environmental water releases to the Barwon River.

“The Barwon River is important to both Traditional Owners and local communities.

“It is a critical drinking water supply catchment for the Geelong region, and it is an important ecosystem for diverse plant and animal species.

The Barwon River flows from the Otways towards Geelong through Winchelsea and joins the Leigh River at Inverleigh and the Moorabool River at Fyansford.

Its pathway continues through Geelong and the Connewarre Ramsar complex before joining the sea at Barwon Heads. It flows over 160kms through varied landscapes.

“The Barwon Flagship project brings together efforts by local landholders, key agencies and community groups over time to change the way we manage riparian land – the land or vegetation that adjoins the river,” Ms Leith said.

“By focusing on the upper river, we aim to improve waterway health and in the long term enable the delivery of an increased environmental water entitlement, ultimately leading to improvements to flow and health in the river downstream where it flows through Geelong and out to sea.

“Together we are working towards a well-connected, healthy and accessible river and wetland corridor that supports fish and platypus populations, a river that continues to be a treasured place for locals and visitors to enjoy now and into the future.”

The Barwon Flagship Waterway Management Plan sets out the required activities, targeted outcomes, roles and responsibilities, and outlines how planned works, events and achievements will be communicated annually.

For more information, head to ccma.vic.gov.au

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