Our Catchments Our Communities

What is is the Our Catchments Our Communities on-ground stewardship project?

“Looking after Country – valuing wetlands in the productive Greater Grampians (Gariwerd) landscape.”

The Our Catchments Our Communities project will run over four years and contribute to key actions in the Our Catchments, Our Communities: Building on the Legacy for Better Stewardship from 2021 through to 2024.

The project is delivering catchment stewardship and regional catchment strategy priorities with key partners, Traditional Owners, and the broader/regional community in the productive landscape of the Greater Grampians (Gariwerd).

The project does this through a number of ways:

  • It focuses on improving catchment health and climate resilience through activities that support wetland cultural knowledge, health and connectivity in the upper Wannon and Hopkins River catchments (~620,000 km2).
  • It aims to improve sustainable agricultural practice by improving the cultural understanding, management, condition and connectivity of wetlands in the region.
  • It supports partners and communities, in particular Traditional Owners and Landcare groups, to lead and deliver this work.
  • It aims to improve the condition and resilience of the region’s wetlands, particularly EPBC listed Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands, and their catchments through strategic planning, changed management practice and on-ground management actions. Also, to look after Country through improved cultural awareness of wetlands and associated heritage, and the incorporation of traditional knowledge and language into their management.

The Greater Grampians (Gariwerd) landscape is the Country of the Eastern Maa, Wadawurrung and Gunditj Mirring peoples. Thirteen Landcare groups are actives across the landscape.

The 2021-2024 OCOC project builds on the legacy of the previous four-year OCOC project in this region where Glenelg Hopkins CMA worked hard to deliver projects under the Our Catchments Our Communities project banner in an engaging and tangible way.

You can see some of the ways we have been able to work together for great community outcomes, and how supporting individuals in their own development will help the broader community below.

Bryan Swamp hydrological trial

Bryan Swamp is in the mouth of Victoria Valley in the southern Grampians, part of the upper Wannon River catchment. It is one of the nine priority large wetlands of the previous OCOC project.

In early August 2021, in between lockdowns, nine pairs of busy hands from a local farm, Nature Glenelg Trust and Glenelg Hopkins CMA filled and installed 120 sandbags to establish a trial weir in one of its outlet drains.

This weir will keep the swamp wet for a few more weeks in summer giving its birds, frogs and plants more time to finish breeding.

Supporting individuals and groups

As part of the Our Catchment Our Communities, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA is supporting individuals and groups in their desire to improve their capacity to deliver community-orientated projects.

Three Landcare groups are currently being funded to develop or revise their strategies to improve catchment health and climate resilience across the productive Greater Grampians (Gariwerd) region.

Supporting community events

As part of the OCOC’s aim to bring together communities and enhance understanding of natural resources and their importance, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA has been able to support community events such as the Lake Bolac Eel Festival.

Through the support of the Lake Bolac Eel Festival, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA supported a community photography competition which encouraged participants to photograph wetlands in the the Glenelg Hopkins catchment area. 

Protecting community assets

Some of the projects the OCOC funding supports are those enhancing community assets like wetland restoration projects.

You can see how the Glenelg Hoppkins CMA, through OCOC funding, has assisted groups restore wetlands below:

This project is being funded under the $21.75 million of the $248 million investment in waterway and catchment health from 2021-2024, the Victorian Government’s Our Catchments, Our Communities program.

We acknowledge and respect Victorian Traditional Owners as the original custodians of Victoria’s land and waters, their unique ability to care for Country and deep spiritual connection to it. We honour Elders past and present whose knowledge and wisdom has ensured the continuation of culture and traditional practices. We are committed to genuinely partner, and meaningfully engage, with Victoria’s Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities to support the protection of Country, the maintenance of spiritual and cultural practices and their broader aspirations in the 21st century and beyond.

The design of the Our Catchments, Our Communities: Building on the Legacy for Better Stewardship policy document and associated branding, includes the application of the Mirring visual (above). Mirring is a commissioned piece created by artist Thomas Day, a Gunditjmara, Yorta and Wemba man. It represents the diverse Countries and landscapes across Victoria and the ‘scars that have been left within the landscape by our people’ while at the same time reminding us of ‘our inherent responsibility to protect Country’. The artwork was created in collaboration with Aboriginal staff to better understand the work that the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning does and the values our staff hold. It acknowledges Aboriginal values and cultural identity and respects their importance for integrated catchment management.