Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Stop messing with the King River

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I received the following emailed invitation to participate in developing a Waterway Management Plan for the upper King River.  I will not be getting involved for reasons I will explain further on.

The North East CMA are looking to develop a Waterway Management Plan for the upper King River extending from Lake William Hovell downstream to Gentle Annie Caravan Park. The three main objectives of the plan are to:

  • Manage the risk of avulsion (i.e. the river changing course on the floodplain)
  • Control willows and improve the quality of native vegetation
  • Investigate the impacts of fire on the long-term instream ecology (i.e. bugs and fish)

There are two levels of community consultation for this project:

  • The formation of a Community Reference Group (effectively a Steering Committee)
  • Community meetings open to all stakeholders/landholders in the project area

At this stage we are seeking representation for the Community Reference Group.

Community Reference Group

The role of the Reference Group is to:

  • Assist in facilitating engagement of the community in the project area, by providing guidance on the best ways to engage and contact stakeholders
  • Participate in two meetings (at the inception of the project, and following the field assessments)
  • Provide a feedback network for the local community to the North East CMA project officer throughout the project (expected to run until June 2009)
  • Provide comments and advice on the draft plan that is developed

Membership on the Reference Group is an opportunity to help facilitate a project that will help manage a valuable resource in your local area. It is not an opportunity to push personal agendas and it is important that we get balanced representation on the committee from the many land managers in the project area. Please let me know if you are interested in being involved, or alternatively call Sally Day during business hours on 5721 2650 or evenings on the mobile 0437 241 216.

If possible they would like to arrange a meeting for the 3rd or 4th of February and therefore ideally need to confirm membership by mid next week.

Now, you might want to get involved and that is your choice.  I will be staying out of it on two grounds; (a) dubiuous health, and (b) I am against some of the aims.

Manage the risk of avulsion
On the one hand, the law prevents you from doing anything along the stream to improve the fish habitat or to improve access to the water.  On the other, they want to manage the risk of the river changing course.

They have to learn that nature will remain in control.  Whatever they do will be undone the next time the river is flooded.  If they mess with it now, you can guarantee that the river will more easily change course upon flooding.

Control willows and improve the quality of native vegetation

That means remove the willows because they are considered ‘feral’ – yes, feral is formally being applied to plant species by the catchment management authorities.

Where they have already removed the willows at Gentle Annie Camping Park, the river has almost died and has been turned into a drain to get the water downstream as quickly as possible … there are no fish there anymore – just ask Graham, the manager.

Because the water gets away so quickly, it backs up further downstream under heavy rain conditions, causing the river to carve a new course accross the flats.

They should stay away from it and let nature have it’s way.  The more they mess with it, the greater the problems will be.


Written by Greg Naylor

28 January 2009 at 11:00 pm

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