20 years on the Macalister

Over the last 20 years thousands of tonnes of nutrients and sediments have been saved from entering the Macalister River and ultimately the Gippsland Lakes thanks to a partnership between farmers, landowners, Landcare, the community and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

According to WGCMA CEO, Martin Fuller, works on the 200km river have included fencing, revegetation, willow removal, weed treatment as well as improving irrigation and more.

“We’ve removed willows and controlled weeds at more than 300 sites covering almost 2,200ha,” said Mr Fuller.

“This creates space for native vegetation to flourish. We’ve planted out 220 sites covering 1,200ha creating habitat for native animals. This work has been protected by more than 260 km of fencing – that’s further than from Sale to Melbourne.

“This is important because we want healthy rivers for the environment’s sake – but our local economy relies on the Macalister River and other waterways like it,” continued Mr Fuller.

According to the United Nations more than 40% of the global workforce is heavily dependent on freshwater.

There are strong links between water and jobs across sectors of our local economy – agriculture, fisheries, forestry, energy and tourism.

“Many of these sectors are connected by water,” continued Mr Fuller. “As a result, freshwater in the Macalister and other rivers like it is worth a lot to our economy.

“We’ve proud of the onground work we’ve done with our partners, but we’re also proud of the irrigation efficiencies we’ve achieved with local farmers and Agriculture Victoria.

“While the numbers paint an impressive picture, there is much more work to be done.

“We’ll shortly be launching our CORE 4 program in the Macalister Irrigation District which helps dairy farmers saves nutrients on farm – allowing them to be reused by farmers and diverted from the Gippsland Lakes.

“We are well placed to support our community and will continue to advocate for funding and support to implement projects that improve biodiversity, protect vegetation and our waterways for years to come.”

For more information on these projects and many others visit www.wgcma.vic.gov.au. WGCMA is proud to be helping ensure catchment health, productivity and liveability now and into the future.