Taungurung, restoring water, restoring Country

Taungurung Land and Waters Corporation (TLaWC) were funded under the Aboriginal Water Unit’s Phase 1 Values and Uses Initiative for the project “Taungurung, restoring water, restoring Country”. It commenced in 2018 and concluded in December 2020.

The project sought to engage Taungurung people with industry specialists to protect cultural values and natural resources on Taungurung Country through restoring natural water regimes and documenting the knowledge for future generations. The project conducted four seasonal vegetation assessments at Reedy Lake, where ten Taungurung men and women participated along with guests from Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Goulburn Murray Water and the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporation, DELWP and Australian National University.

The work allowed TLaWC to produce a comprehensive assessment of seasonal species and how they respond to changes throughout the year. The project duration changed drastically due to dry weather conditions during 2018 and 2019. Initially the timeframe was proposed to take up to 12 months however the purpose of assessing vegetation responses at different times of the year had to be extended to give the Lake the chance of experiencing a wetter year. The full duration of the project was up to thirty months.

Wetter conditions during 2020 provided Taungurung with a fantastic opportunity to improve the results of the initial assessments and genuinely understand the ecological health conditions, hydrology regime and vegetation responses of the Lake. The climate conditions allowed Taungurung members to experience the enormous resilience the Lake still has and observe significant changes in the different environmental vegetation classes.

Through the project, Taungurung developed a comprehensive ecological and cultural heritage assessment of Reedy Lake. The ecological and cultural assessment found that the existing wetland vegetation, despite the dry conditions, had great structural and species diversity. Many species were identified that had significant cultural uses for Taungurung, and the multitude of scar trees and mounds at the Lake attest to the prevalent use of this site by Taungurung people over a long period. TLaWC will use this to put forward future recommendations and strategies for joint management of the site and will continue to seek collaboration and future funding for research.

The project also has supported TLaWC to reconnect Taungurung people to their Country as well as supported TLaWC and Taungurung people to increase their confidence in water management. “Restoring water, restoring Country” has enabled TLaWAC to build strong partnerships with the water industry and improve participation in land and water management. Through the project, TLaWC was able to establish a working relationship with Goulburn Broken CMA and Parks Victoria.

A group of people sitting on a tree branch over a lake that is covered in reeds.

Image: Reedy Lake November 2020 (Credit: Alejandro Voysest, TLaWC).

A flooded landscape with trees in the water

Image:  Site visit during wetter period. (Credit: Alejandro Voysest, TLaWC)

Page last updated: 01/12/21