A perfect match at Corner Inlet

A 550-acre property at Manns Beach has been the focus of saltmarsh protection works now for more than a decade.

Owned by Yarram local, Esme Rash, the property has been in her family for more than 120 years.

According to West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority Project Coordinator, Tanya Cowell, the 390-acre work site is important as part of the Corner Inlet Connections Project.

“Corner Inlet is an extremely important wetland site,” explained Tanya. “The salt marshes on Esme’s property form part of a transitional habitat between the ocean and the land.

“It’s fantastic to be able to work with Esme and our partners to protect this precious part of Corner Inlet.”

Saltmarsh filters pollutants, stabilises sediments, traps and processes nutrients and protects the shoreline from erosion.

“Saltmarsh in Corner Inlet provides habitat and food for many birds, juvenile fish and invertebrate species. They are a critical component of the Corner Inlet ecosystem,” continued Tanya.

One of the partners on the Corner Inlet Connections project is the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC). Funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, crews from GLaWAC work at different sites across Corner Inlet once per month. This area is part of the traditional lands of the Gunaikurnai’s Brataualung clan.

Bronson Ritchie, GLaWAC’s Natural Resource Management Crew Leader said the crews enjoyed the work on Corner Inlet.

“It’s good to see this country,” said Bronson. “We probably wouldn’t otherwise see it if we weren’t working here.”

“At this property, we’re treating Boxthorn and Briar Rose. The Boxthorn can get quite big and can sometimes have wombats or hog deer hiding under them.”

Corner Inlet possesses a rich Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal archeological sites and artefacts can be found on farmland, in the bush and along waterways. These sites are important as they show how the Gunaikurnai used the land and the close and continuing connection the Gunaikurnai have to their country.

Some of these sites have been recorded, however many have not yet been found and protected.

GLaWAC’s Registered Aboriginal Party Manager, Russell Mullett encouraged landowners to let the work crews know if they think they have any Aboriginal archeological sites on their property.

“Many landowners aren’t aware that they have Aboriginal artefacts such as scar trees, shell middens or even burial sites on their properties, and by working with GLaWAC they can help us record, protect and manage our Aboriginal cultural heritage,” Mr Mullett said.

Tanya said through this work, the NRM works team from GLaWac works on priority sites in Corner Inlet every month, as part of our Corner Inlet Connections program.

This project is supported by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. For more on the Corner Inlet Connections Project go to wgcma.vic.gov.au.

Corey, Damian, Bronson, Kealy and Mick from GLaWAC at a property in Manns Beach
Corey doing weed control work in Corner Inlet
Damian and Mick on site in Corner Inlet