Celebrating 20 Years of Catchment Management

This year, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA), celebrates its 20th Anniversary and is looking forward to working with the community and partners to make a difference for many years to come.

WGCMA Chair, Angus Hume, said the organisation, staff, partners and community had a lot to be proud about over the last 20 years.

“We’ve definitely matured as an organisation,” said Mr Hume. “We’re nimble, adaptable and able to respond to community and environmental needs well.

“It is really pleasing to see how we, as an organisation, with our partners and landowners have been able to quite literally change the landscape.

“By working with landholders to remove weeds and willows, fence and revegetate rivers and creeks we are seeing huge results in water quality and bank stability.”

Over the last 20 years more than 2,300 kilometres of fencing has been constructed, 5,600 hectares of weeds controlled and almost three and a half million trees planted.

WGCMA’s statutory planning unit has also provided floodplain planning advice on 17,500 cases.

“The numbers paint an impressive picture, but it is when you see how a landscape has been transformed that you really see the true outcomes of the work done,” continued Mr Hume.

“We have a number of amazing projects that demonstrate this, including the transformation of Heart Morass near Sale from degraded farmland to what is now a 1,800 hectare wetland complex.

“Silcocks Hill near Corner Inlet, is transforming before our very eyes as we watch the trees begin to grow. This is changing over-cleared farm land that was slipping into the rivers and ocean into a treed gully that is holding firm.

“Great tracts of land have been treated for pests high up in the catchment as part of our Alpine Peatlands project and rare wildflowers have been found and protected as part of the Red Gum Grassy Woodlands projects.

“We’ve run education sessions with kids, supported our Waterwatch volunteers and hundreds of Landcarers.

“Over the years, water for the environment released at key times in the Thomson, Latrobe and Macalister rivers has helped trigger fish migration, improved the condition of bankside vegetation and helped other vulnerable and endangered species.

“While we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with our partners and community, this is no time to sit back and believe that the job is done.

“We as a community face very real environmental challenges, including how we manage the impacts of climate change, how we can support our farming community to provide enough food for our growing populations and how we can protect Gippsland’s unique natural environment now and in the future.

“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.