This program aims to improve the environmental condition of Victoria's priority waterways.  This will be achieved via two inter-linked program components: on-ground physical works across regional Victoria and statewide policy coordination and planning.

Total EC3 investment: $59.3 m

2012-13 expenditure: $8.4 m 
2013-14 expenditure: $16.2 m 
2014-15 expenditure: $16.7 m  
2015-16 expenditure: $17.9 m


2015-16 was the final year of this program.  Key achievements from the on-ground works component of this initiative delivered by Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) during 2015-16 include:

Corangamite CMA

Delivery of EstuaryWatch in the Corangamite CMA region continues to engage local communities in the monitoring of estuarine water quality. The data collected by the volunteers feeds into estuary management decisions. For waterway improvement works, 130 expressions of interest were registered during the year, leading to ecological assessments and management plans being developed for an area of 750 hectares, with a total river frontage of 120 km. Four surveys of the Lower Barwon fishway took place between October and December 2015.

East Gippsland CMA

Significant progress has been made in targeting woody and non-woody weeds on the Cann River. This was complemented by revegetation within the floodplain, landholders environmental works agreements, fencing, off-stream watering and weed grants. Weed control has also been carried out on the Combienbar River, providing an opportunity for the establishment of native vegetation. The ongoing commitment to control woody weeds and plant native vegetation in the Cann and Combienbar rivers is making a real difference to the health, functionality and regeneration of native vegetation in these waterways. Works in the Mitchell River to control woody weeds have focusing primarily in the upper catchment. The CMA worked with several stakeholders to deliver these projects such as DELWP Hotham resorts board, Parks Victoria and Dargo Landcare Group.

Goulburn Broken CMA

A combined 39 hectares of revegetation projects were delivered on the King Parrot/Hughes Creek, Yea, Rubicon and Acheron, Delatite and Howqua  rivers, and in the Broken Basin. The popular Fish Circus community engagement event was held on the Hughes Creek in September, raising awareness about the significance of the endangered Macquarie perch. The event was a success, with more than 300 people attending. Wetlands in Barmah Forest were prioritised for red gum sapling removal, with photo monitoring planned to measure the success. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation works crew started the red gum sapling removal in April 2016. Fencing targets have been exceeded, with over 19 kilometres of fencing providing protection to 115 hectares of riparian land. Recreational angling has been supported, with a total of 284 snags introduced to improve habitat for fish on the Hughes Creek, Delatite and Goulburn rivers.

Glenelg Hopkins CMA

On-ground works were delivered to improve the condition of reaches of Fiery Creek, Middle Creek, Hopkins River, Grange Burn and Merri River. Activities include the management of woody and herbaceous weeds, with maintenance and planting of native vegetation. An indigenous interpretation sign was installed at a site where native vegetation has been planted. Key achievements include the positive uptake of landholder involvement. Increased partnerships have been a key outcome of the projects in this region, especially those developed with local angling clubs. The CMA worked with Hamilton Angling Club to improve access to a 200 metre stretch of the Grange Burn, enabling recreational fishing on a stretch that has been inaccessible for 20 years. Carp monitoring and removal occurred downstream of Rocklands Reservoir to protect significant native fauna in the Glenelg River. The activity employed an array of targeted carp harvesting techniques at locations identified by the Judas Carp tracking project.

Mallee CMA

Partnerships with the community were established at key project sites to facilitate community input into on-ground works. The community's involvement and support has meant several key projects have been achieved at Kings Billabong, Psyche Lagoon and Woorlong Wetlands. In partnership with Friends of Kings Billabong, Parks Victoria and Mallee CMA, an additional 80 metres of boardwalk has been added to the existing boardwalk near Ducks Foot Lagoon.

North Central CMA

The highly successful Caring for the Campaspe project continued to work with private landholders with river frontage, public land managers and community groups to deliver fencing, weed control and revegetation incentives along the river's length to improve the condition of riparian vegetation, which has a direct impact on aquatic and riparian ecosystem health. This was the fourth and final year of significant on-ground works, supported by Traditional Owner work crews. Other activities included the coordination of two large scale events to promote awareness of the river (Campaspe Carp Catch and Chicks in the Sticks) and a Campaspe Birdwatching Walk. A final performance report to evaluate, learn and inform the future of the Caring for the Campaspe project has been completed. Over $150,000 of complementary funding for weed control, revegetation and action planning activities was secured.

North East CMA

Sites on the Ovens River and Little Snowy Creek have been prepared in advance of revegetation works, with 5000 seedlings on order for replanting in spring 2016 and autumn 2017. Maintenance was delivered at 25 sites, and included such activities as structural repair to rock chutes, repositioning of fallen hardwood timber, bank stabilisation and targeted weed management to encourage natural recruitment of native vegetation. The non-woody weed control target was exceeded due to extensive consultation with the Wangaratta community. The woody weed target was also exceeded, with seasonal conditions providing an ideal window of opportunity for removal activities.

West Gippsland CMA

Work has been completed on the Thomson River, installing three kilometres of fencing to restrict stock access and protect approximately 6.5 ha of remnant vegetation. Weed control was undertaken across 11.2 ha, with mechanical removal of large willow infestation required at two sites. The remnant vegetation was enhanced through planting of 7500 tube stock over 6.4 ha. Five hundred metres of fencing was installed on the Lower Latrobe, located on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail. Spartina weed continues to be a significant issue for the CMA, with 7.5 ha sprayed on tributaries of Anderson Inlet. Works on Corner Inlet maintained 4.4 ha of revegetation and undertook 185 ha of weed control to protect previous investment.

Wimmera CMA

The program successfully assisted landholders to protect and enhance CMA identified high priority reaches on their properties with 12 landholders protecting and enhancing 80.12 ha of riparian area with 19.23 km of fencing and 28.04 ha of indigenous revegetation. These programs were well received by the community with 80 landholders expressing interest resulting in 57 sites being eligible for funding. Innovative e-DNA technology was used to monitor platypuses, river blackfish and carp across the region. Results were mixed, with the impact of dry conditions evident in the lack of platypus and river blackfish at sites where they were expected.  This has been a promising first use of the approach and will be used to support future carp control actions such as trapping. The Securing High Community Priority program assisted landholders to protect high value wetlands with four management agreements protecting 224.44 ha of high value wetlands.

The delivery of actions by regional CMAs in this program align with the principles and targets in the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy . This document provides the policy framework and direction for managing and improving the health of Victoria's waterways.  It provides the strategic direction for investments in Victoria's waterways, guided by strong and clear principles, a clear set of targets and actions, and the development of methods for valuing and prioritising environmental values and assets and other innovations. Each of the CMA regional waterway strategies that link to the statewide strategy have an eight year works plan, which provides guidance and transparency for planned investments.

An independent evaluation of this program noted that a "significant level of outputs have been achieved with the funding that, in conjunction with the environmental watering program, provide the necessary basis for long term improvements in the health of Victoria's waterways." The evaluation also found that "[n]umerous audits of discrete investments have found the projects to have been (on the whole) well managed, technically sound and able to demonstrate the outputs achieved. There is also evidence that in delivering these works, there have been tangible social outcomes in the form of strengthened landholder engagement, as well as trust and acknowledgement of the benefits of improved land management practices."

Page last updated: 30/10/18