Formation of the Werribee River Catchment

The formation of the Werribee River catchment is a fascinating physiographical tale.  More than 50 million years ago, the Werribee River was merely a stream flowing westwards to join the Moorabool River. This explanation was outlined in Condon’s treatise on the geology of the lower Werribee River 19511.

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Strategic Matters

WRIVA has always believed it must act strategically in order to achieve better outcomes for the Werribee River and its catchment.  The need to do so was first illustrated in initiatives to form a body to protect the Werribee River as noted in a local report by Werribee Jaycees on the health of the river and its wildlife, in 1972.1

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WRivA’s Submission to VEAC Central West Forests Investigation 2017

 

The forests provide:

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  • weather proofing for the soil, land and settlements, holding water on the land, encouraging growth and lessening the chances of erosion and damage by wind, water and rain
  • healthy habitat and refuge for forest dwelling and migratory species
  • water catchments for stream and river flows, agricultural, domestic and town water needs
  • productive timber supplies
  • places to research species and uses of the forest
  • mining opportunities
  • places for people to live and earn an income
  • tourist destinations
  • healthy active and passive recreation
  • enjoyment and peace for residents and visitors

As the human population increases in the City of Melbourne and surrounding towns and communities, and impacts from climate change continue, it is likely that there will be:

sm cwf submission 2

  • overuse of facilities and infrastructure increasin
  • litter load
  • worsening water quality
  • over logging
  • over extraction of firewood
  • over extraction of water
  • further fragmentation of forest
  • susceptibility to fire
  • health and safety concerns
  • loss of habitat
  • loss of species
  • loss of attractiveness to tourists and residents
  • loss of income
  • conflict between users
  • lack of trust in management
  • increased levels of cost for maintenance, control and enforcement

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RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Access & Safety Initiatives

  • Improve signage and maintenance for enjoyment, healthy exercise and safety
  • Reduce litter loads for amenity, health and safety
  • Provide toilet infrastructure in the forest or information as to where available in nearby towns
  • Provide toilet facilities under arrangement with municipalities in many local towns
  • Encourage noise reduction in active and passive recreational pursuits
  • Restrict access to some places of community held value
  • Encourage sustainable tourism
  • Provide education programs aimed at new and existing groups in the growing community

2. Firewood Initiatives

  • Provide incentives to improve the efficiency of fireplaces and wood burners in Victoria
  • Monitor, audit and restrict if necessary, the areas available for collecting firewood
  • Protect the income of firewood plantation industry growers
  • Consider banning firewood burners in Melbourne to assist air quality

 3. Forest Initiatives

  • Buy back strategic parcels of land to increase areas of natural habitat, logging or firewood forest
  • Encourage revegetation initiatives on private and public land
  • Encourage revegetation linkages between fragmented forest
  • Encourage the creation of bio links

 sm cwf submission 44. Logging Initiatives

  • Establish transparent logging procedures
  • Increase time between logging episodes in any one area
  • Prohibit logging in waterways, known habitat or potential habitat areas
  • Encourage research into timber alternatives for building and other uses
  • Share information on publicly available and easily accessible websites

5. Litter Initiatives

Minimise the growing litter problem by:

  • Bringing existing regulations to a litter-smart standard
  • Encourage & fund communities, municipalities, waterway managers and Parks Victoria to continue their work meeting the challenge of growing litter loads
  • Introduce a statewide tax or surcharge or other initiatives to meet the growing concerns with take away food items by using funds raised to assist communities, municipalities, waterway managers, Parks Victoria and others with litter loads

 6. Management initiatives

  • Establish an inclusive community-based management body to oversee the future uses and management of the forests
  • Clarify, allocate and fund management responsibilities
  • Establish accountability procedures on any MOUs or agreements
  • Provide financial and other incentives to municipalities, Parks Victoria and others to carry out their many tasks
  • Provide financial, in-kind and other incentives to landowners and managers

7. Mapping Initiatives

Carry out and make available accurate mapping of:

  • Waterways down to a small size
  • Habitat mapping
  • Significant flora and fauna
  • Firewood areas

sm cwf submission 58. Mining Initiatives

  • Discourage mining ventures which remove or damage forest cover, waterways or aquifers
  • Discourage mining ventures which affect or alter waterways and water supplies
  • Prohibit mining ventures which affect or alter water quality
  • Prohibit mining in sensitive or valued areas

9. Regulation Initiatives

  • Research values held by the local and broader community
  • Enable better enforcement of regulations or bylaws which exist now
  • Consider further reviews of by-laws, regulations and other laws to protect the integrity of forest cover and waterways, visitor and litter impacts
  • Establish an inclusive community based management system which would enable ongoing liaison with user groups and umbrella organisations to manage the forests for the broader community and future generations

10. Water Initiatives

  • Offer financial, in-kind and other incentives for water managers to improve efficiencies of usage of river & stream water in domestic, agricultural and industrial water supplies
  • Encourage the use and quality of alternative water supplies which allow less usage of river water for agriculture and town water supplies