Water

First look at floodplain restoration concepts

By Jamie Salter

The Guttrum and Benwell forests and Gunbower National Park are one step closer to having their floodplains restored as part of the Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project.

The project aims to reinvigorate the two ecosystems in order to cope with a changing climate and river regulation.

Engineering works such as regulators and pump stations will be used to achieve similar ecological benefits of a natural flood event, avoiding further water buybacks from irrigators.

VMFRP East project manager Tim Shanahan said they had been working with the community, irrigators, landholders and traditional owners for a number of years to make the project efficient and effective.

“We asked the community how they wanted to be consulted, and they told us they wanted us to work with the Gunbower Community Reference Group and the Koondrook Progress Association — and we have,” Mr Shanahan said.

“We have met with every farmer adjacent to the project area and spoken with more further afield.

“We have worked very closely with our traditional owners to ensure the key cultural areas of the floodplains are identified and protected.”

The Guttrum and Benwell project has opened for public comment, and the Gunbower project will also be made public in the coming weeks.

“The Federal Government has a 10-day period for the public to make comment or put in a submission,” Mr Shanahan said.

“This is the first opportunity, but by no means the last, to formally suggest any changes to the planning and construction parts of the projects.”

Mr Shanahan said it was important for the community to understand the projects and how they would benefit the floodplains.

“We want to talk with the community so everyone understands the project and can ask questions,” he said.

The works are two of Victoria’s nine environmental works projects as part of the agreed 605 Gl of Sustainable Diversion Limit projects.

● To contact the VMFRP, phone (03) 5448 7124 or email tim.shanahan@vmfrp.vic.gov.au or shaun.morgan@vmfrp.vic.gov.au

For more information about the projects, visit: www.vmfrp.com.au

To comment on the Guttrum and Benwell projects, visit: http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/