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The Floodplain Babbler

Edition #1
June 2021

Welcome to the first edition of the Floodplain Babbler!

Grey-crowned Babblers shoot the breeze near Benjeroop, Victoria (Photo: Chris Tzaros @Birds Bush and Beyond)
Named after the noisy and gregarious Babbler bird, this quarterly newsletter will keep you updated on our planned work to restore nine much-loved Murray River floodplains. 

The Grey-crowned Babbler loves the open forests and woodlands along the Murray River. They can be spotted in Hattah‐Kulkyne National Park and the Murray Sunset National Park, but unfortunately are endangered in Victoria. Our work to get water back onto the floodplains will help ensure these sociable guys don't lose their home. 
You are receiving this email because you either opted in to receive information from us, interacted with the project at some point, or we identified you as an interested party. If you do not want to see news from VMFRP, hit the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email.

Latest news

Environmental assessment process underway

The environment assessment process is designed to thoroughly cover the potential benefits and impacts of these projects. 

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has put together scoping requirements setting out the matters to be investigated at each of the nine sites. The scoping requirements were released for public consultation and include community input (EES scopes only) and are now with the Minister for Planning for approval. Scoping requirements are due for release in July 2021 and will be uploaded to the VMFRP library

You might have already seen some of our technical specialists on site investigating things like hydrology, cultural heritage and flora and fauna. 
 

Your involvement

We want to hear from you. Do you have information about potential impacts? Do you have concerns or questions? What do you want to see from us? Site visits? Community information sessions?

We are planning various engagement activities as set out in our EES consultation plans. We welcome your feedback. Email info@vmfrp.vic.gov.au to tell us what you think or call Jodi Reynolds, our Communications and Engagement Project Officer on 0428 516 233.
Did you know?
River red gums and black box trees need a drink about once every ten years to survive.  

Hattah springs back to life

River red gums get their feet wet at Hattah Lakes in May this year (Photo: MCMA)
Many threatened and rare native species have been enjoying the release of water at Hattah Lakes over May and early June.

This significant watering event in the Ramsar listed Hattah-Kulkyne National Park provides a great outcome for the environment and the community.

Watch a video of this exciting event on the ABC Mildura website or download the Mallee CMA media release
.

Edna prepares to take flight

She may not look much yet, but with some new feathers, Edna will soon be ready to hit the road. Edna is the roving face of Mallee Catchment Management Authority and will promote environmental water and floodplain restoration projects across the Mallee region.
Edna the Queen of the Floodplains waiting for a makeover
Edna will be kitted out and ready to roll in the next couple of months. Keep an eye out for Edna at farmer’s markets and other community events.
Gunbower floodplain community group off to a flying start
 
The first of two local VMFRP community advisory groups in the East zone has hit the ground running. The Gunbower National Park Stakeholder Advisory Group held its first meeting in May. The group includes community members and forest users from across the local area. Read more
Site tours in May


We took several representatives on site tours in May including from the Victorian Farmers Federation, DELWP, Mallee CMA’s Land and Water Advisory Committee and the Aboriginal Reference Group. It was great to see watering in action at Hattah and look at the infrastructure built under The Living Murray program. Representatives got to see firsthand the decline of the majestic river red gums and black box trees, giving them a deeper understanding of the need for this restoration work.

Working with Traditional Owners

As well as being ecologically significant, the nine VMFRP sites are located in areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity. Traditional Owners have cultural and spiritual connections to the land, surrounding waters and the plants and animals that live on the floodplains. As part of their culture, their health is intrinsically linked to a healthy landscape.

We are assessing cultural heritage, and preparing Cultural Heritage Management Plans for each site, as required under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. These plans assess the potential impact of projects on Aboriginal cultural heritage, and outline measures to be taken before, during and after construction to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Frequently asked questions

Pelicans on Hattah Lakes (Photo: MCMA)
We recently updated our online FAQDid we answer all your questions?

Will the floodplains be watered every year? 

Different floodplains require different watering frequencies. We will monitor how often natural flooding occurs and will only be looking to water the floodplains in the years where the environment needs a ‘top up’ to help it survive between natural flooding events. The watering plans at each site will be flexible; each year and each watering event will be tailored depending on things such as the conditions of the floodplain, water availability, river flows and timing since the last flood or watering event. 

The secret life of floodplains

Floodplains have their own rich and interconnected ecosystem based on wet and dry cycles. When the river spills onto the floodplain, it triggers the renewal of life, creating the habitat, foraging and food that floodplain creatures need to survive and thrive.

As our towns, cities, agriculture and industries have grown over time, we have changed the way the river flows to suit our purposes by using weirs and dams. While this has benefited regional communities and economies, water no longer flows naturally as it once did, and the Murray River can no longer water these floodplains often enough to keep them healthy.

Many plants and creatures depend on periodic flooding of the floodplains, from microscopic creatures to frogs, fish, birds, bats and other mammals. 

We'll be sending out regular updates on the various floodplain creatures and what we've found during our site investigations. The next animal to be featured is the Regent Parrot. 
This distinctive yellow and green bird likes to nest in hollows of River Red Gums and can be seen across the Murray River floodplains in north-western Victoria. The Regent Parrot is listed as a threatened species in Victoria and is relying on floodplain restoration work for its survival (Photo: MCMA)

Talk to us

There are plenty of ways to find out more about this project or get in touch. Keep up-to-date by visiting the ‘Get Involved’ page on our website at vmfrp.com.au, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or email us at info@vmfrp.com.au 

We’ll also be holding community information sessions in the coming months, so please email us to register your interest in future events.  
Acknowledgment of Country
 
The VMFRP acknowledges and respects Traditional Owners, Aboriginal communities and organisations. We recognise the diversity of their cultures and the deep connections they have with lands and waters.

We value our relationships with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal communities and organisations for the health of People and Country.

VMFRP management and staff pay their respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners’ obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.
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VMFRP · PO Box 1438 · Mildura, Vic 3502 · Australia

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