Since November I've been working with the North Central CMA to roll out parts of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) funding. The fund of about $9M is in response to extensive flooding in late 2010 and early 2011 and is directed at various emergency response measures as well as ongoing recovery works. One year on from the floods, North Central CMA CEO Damian Wells speaks about the program on ABC local radio.
Recovery works include reinstatement of and repairs to sites of previous environmental works such as fencing repairs, levee breaches and structures previously built to prevent erosion. It is expected that the works may take 18 months to deliver.
Flood events are at the same time devastating to private landholders and local communities, and a tremendous bounty to the environment (for example the National Waterbird Survey has seen overall waterbird numbers in eastern Australia bounce back to well above the long-term average, reversing the long-term decline observed since 1983). From an engineering and personal perspective the challenge is to make the most of available funding to deliver sound environmental and community outcomes given timing constraints and the funding arrangements themselves.
The Loddon River (background) and Serpentine Creek (foreground) in flood, September 2010 (image courtesy of North Central CMA)