River Health Program Report Card released

River Health Program Report Card released

8.10.2010 - Posted by Kane Travis
The Department of Sustainability and Environment has just released its report card tracking the Government’s progress on river health targets. The report card provides an overview of the achievements from the Victorian CMA’s and Melbourne Water from 2002 to 2009.

The report acknowledges the successes in river health programs through the combined efforts of government, industry and community. Some of the key highlights include:
  • From 2002–2009, 402 gigalitres of water was recovered and added to the Environmental Water Reserve, improving environmental flows in 71 river reaches;
  • Conducting works to allow fish to move into approximately 7,900km of rivers and streams which included removing obstructions and building fishways at over 150 locations;
  • 7,066 km of rivers and streams have been fenced protecting them from stock access;
  • More than 600 groups, comprising 2,300 volunteers, regularly monitor rivers over 1,900 sites across the state.
The 2002 – 2009 has been a good period to build a solid base of river health works and outcomes. Moving forward into the next period of delivery I think we face a number of key challenges.
  • Recurrent funding – The restoration of our rivers is a very long term program than requires long term commitment from government. Our funding mechanisms need to evolve to provide confidence for organisations like CMA’s in the continuity of funds so they can plan more effectively and retain staff.
  • Higher investment into maintenance – Politicians seem to be driven by the numbers of new things, such as, the length of new fences or number of new trees. So often we see projects that will never realise their potential due to a lack of maintenance. The next 7 years need to provide adequate funds and direction to significantly reinvest in areas that have had previous works.
  • Legislative stick – There is only so far that good will and tireless community engagement can achieve. We need to develop stronger legislative tools to dealing with impacts on waterways where good will fails.
Read the report here.