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Tuesday, 9 July 2024

Landslip timber given new life in fish habitat project

Repurposed timber from the restoration of Bogong High Plains Road has already delivered benefits for a nearby waterway rehabilitation project on the Kiewa River being undertaken by the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA).

The timber, collected from felled trees, was donated by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and East Gippsland-based construction partner Whelans Group Investments following the completion of repair works on Bogong High Plains Road in the state’s north-east after the biggest landslide in Victoria in more than 40 years in October 2022.

The North East CMA has worked with MRPV in line with a Memorandum of Understanding for repurposing timber felled during road projects for waterway rehabilitation. The MOU was established in May 2019 by the Victorian Government among 14 agency parties including all CMAs and the VFA. The MOU details the collaborative process between the agencies and how repurposed timber felled during road projects will be used for waterway rehabilitation.

While this is the first time MRPV and North East CMA have partnered together, MRPV has a proven track record of donating timber suitable for fish habitats under the MOU, with previous timber donation recipients including Corangamite CMA, North Central CMA and Goulburn Broken CMA.

The timber provided will form part of a project on the Kiewa River between Tawonga and Tawonga South. Funding via a VFA fish habitat grant is being sought to support delivery of the project.

MRPV Executive Program Director Alexis Davison said projects where timber has previously been donated from includes Yan Yean Road Upgrade, the Echuca-Moama Bridge Project Stage 3 and Barwon Heads Road Upgrade Stage 1.

“Donating timber from felled trees on our projects ensures a continued life cycle for this valuable resource, and enables important collaboration between different agencies,” Alexis Davison said.

Project officer with the North East CMA, Richard Dalkin, said the partnership with MRPV leveraging a rare opportunity where a road project was located close to the waterway rehabilitation site on the Kiewa River.

“Often the biggest challenge is finding timber in the location where these works are being undertaken,” Mr Dalkin said.

“The biggest cost of these waterway projects is cartage of the timber being repurposed.

“We are also working in another partnership with Alpine Shire which is providing timber for this project.”

North East CMA chief executive officer, Katie Warner said instream woody habitat (IWH) is important for the health of waterways and biodiversity.

“It helps sustain fish populations; providing fish with shelter, food resources, breeding areas and territorial markers,” Ms Warner said.

“Reusing timber removed during road construction such as the work on the Bogong High Plains Road boosts opportunities for instream woody habitat rehabilitation projects.

Ms Warner said North East CMA would continue to work in partnership with private contractors and other agencies to best utilise repurposed timber on future waterway projects.

“Working with the road project managers from the early planning stages of this project has ensured the best possible outcome.”

Mr Dalkin said existing examples of the IWH structures that utilised the repurposed timber included tree trunks and branches pinned together in Nariel Creek in the Upper Murray. Other examples see timber pieces keyed into the riverbank, locked into one another, and secured using piles and rocks. Further examples include rootballs and tree trunks, pinned together and anchored by timber piles; or timber piles pinned vertically into the edge of the river channel to mitigate erosion.

Caption: Richard Dalkin from North East CMA; Patrick Newman, Whelans Group; Charlie Whelan, Whelans Group; and James Aroin, Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) on the Kiewa River where timber has been repurposed for fish habitat projects.



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