Urbaqua has had the opportunity to work closely with the Peel Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) this last year on a number of partnership projects monitoring and assessing the health of major rivers in the Peel-Harvey catchment.
One of the projects that finished up recently was the Hotham-Williams Rivers Action Plan (RAP).
The Hotham and Williams Rivers are the two major rivers which feed into the Murray River, one of three main rivers feeding the Peel-Harvey Estuary, a Ramsar listed wetland with a catchment area of 1,682 km2. The surface water catchment of the Hotham and Williams Rivers is an area of 573,350 hectares and forms the largest part of the Murray River Catchment, making up almost half of the Peel-Harvey Catchment.
The western third of the Hotham-Williams Catchment is contained within the Darling Plateau and is heavily forested (about 90%). The central and eastern thirds of the Catchment have been extensively cleared for agriculture (80% and 80% cleared, respectively) except for large blocks of native vegetation which make up the Dryandra Woodland.
The main landuses in the catchment are cropping/grazing and conservation/State Forest. By financial value, the most significant landuses are mining, industry and transport.
The purpose of the RAP was to determine the current conditions of the rivers and help the PHCC to identify priority sites for action of future onground works.
The RAP provides a detailed snapshot of the health and condition of eight priority sites within the Hotham-Williams and a desktop assessment of the greater catchment area. The ‘Action’ in the Plan is a list of recommendations for on-ground activities to restore habitat and ecological function of the Rivers, and their associated tributaries and sub-catchments. The RAP is part of a larger five year partnership between Newmont Boddington and the PHCC entitled “Hotham-Williams Rivers and Tributaries’ Natural Resource Management and Conservation Project”. This project has also involved dedicated river health assessments (in partnership with Department of Water and Environmental Regulation) and contributes to supporting the PHCC staff to deliver projects in the Hotham-Williams sub-catchment.
The next step is working with Local Governments and the wider community in the region to begin implementation and seek further funding to make it happen!
For more information on the RAP, please contact the Peel Harvey Catchment Council: firstname.lastname@example.org / 08 6369 8800.