NORTH East Catchment Management Authority has been recognised nationally for empowering communities to take ownership of waterway management and help drive positive change.
North East CMA was recognised by the River Basin Management Society, an industry body with a 30-year history in land, water and natural resource management in Australia, at an awards ceremony on Friday 27 October, for a project along the mid-King River involving landholders. The CMA won the most highly contested award category of the night – Involving Communities in Waterway Management.
North East CMA CEO, Neil McCarthy, said the recognition demonstrated that long-term commitment gets results.
“The mid-King River project began in 2011 when a group of landholders along a 10 kilometre stretch reported increased rates of sedimentation within the King River channel, exacerbated by instream willow growth and fallen timber. A rapid assessment of the reach identified two locations where the abandonment of the King River – an avulsion – was imminent,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The CMA developed a ‘community-led solutions’ approach with the landholders. Our vision was for the community to develop a deeper understanding of their river, avulsion processes, and the possible interventions that would benefit the whole system, including downstream users, and outlast any short-term works program.
“I’d like to congratulate the Mid King River Action Group for their proactive approach to addressing issues along the King River. They’re a very impressive community that is having a big impact and are a terrific example of what can be achieved when we all work together.
"The mid King River avulsion management project will also help to shape future management of waterways across Victoria, and inspire other innovative community-led solutions."
North East CMA was also a finalist in the ‘Technical Excellence in Waterway Management’ award category for the use of drone-based thermal infrared imagery to identify drought refuge potential in the Upper Ovens River, and a finalist in the ‘Innovation in Waterway Management’ award for fish passages built at Frost Crossing and McQuades Bend in the Warby-Ovens National Park.
Mr McCarthy thanked all of the partner organisations involved in the projects, and congratulated North East CMA staff for their exceptional achievements at the biennial River Basin Management Society awards.