Paddling Barmah attempt #1

Paddling Barmah attempt #1

19.10.2010 - Posted by Misko Ivezich
Last Thursday 13 of us headed up to Murray River in an attempt to paddle around Barmah National Park that is flourishing after the wet winter. Numerous flood and storm warnings had been issued but being intrepid adventurers and equipped with a thorough safety plan, we decided to take our chances with mother nature. We spent Thursday night at Red Gum Retreat on Ulupna Island. At about 1am the torrential rain began and did not let up for many hours. As day broke, we saw a gap in the weather and headed off to collect our kayaks. However Goulburn Broken CMA advised us against getting in the water early Friday morning. So we abandoned our kayaking plans and walked through the very damp forest for a couple of hours instead.

In the afternoon, Keith Ward, an ecologist and the Environmental Water Reserve Manager at GBCMA, gave us a fascinating presentation on the Barmah-Millewa forest, the largest River Red Gum forest in the world. Keith shared with us some of the history of the forest, including the formation of the system resulting from the rise of the Cadell Fault to its extensive post-European logging history. He also shared some of the challenges of managing an internationally recognised wetland under a highly regulated and water scarce environment. The forest is one of the lucky ones though, the floodplain is highly water shedding - so floodwaters essentially re-enter the river system at the downstream end. This provides opportunities for wetland watering from environmental water or irrigation water being delivered further downstream.

A wet Barmah forest