Taungurung Land and Water Council (TLaWC) is leading the way at Horseshoe Lagoon demonstrating how cultural values, environmental objectives and on-Country knowledge sharing are critical to long term water management, Healing Country and meaningful collaboration.
Culturally significant to Taungurung Traditional Owners, Horseshoe Lagoon near Seymour continues to show promising response to environmental flow deliveries with birds, frogs and turtles returning to the site.
Taungurung Land and Water Council’s Water Management Officer said it is not just about the ecological outcomes - Taungurung community is proud of what it has achieved so far.
“Our community has been involved since the beginning and pays close attention to what happens to the site. Healing Country is not merely ecological restoration of habitats, it is having the right people taking care of Country.”
Taungurung Land and Water Council has been working closely with Goulburn Broken CMA, Parks Victoria, community partners and the VEWH to bring water back to the lagoon.
“Ultimately, we would like to manage the site ourselves, this includes owning the water we deliver every year. That would be a big step for us, transforming environmental water into cultural water. Most of the natural resource management works undertaken are the result of constant coordination between TLaWC, Parks Victoria and Goulbourn Broken CMA. This work is the first step for Taungurung towards sole management for significant sites like this, reserves and parks.”
In 2017, TLaWC undertook an Aboriginal Waterway Assessment at the site which provided key information to the Environmental Water Management Plan in 2019.
Whether through on-Country visits or remote input under COVID-19 restrictions, TLaWC have been an integral part of the team in developing proposed watering activities at the lagoon. Taungurung have influenced the development of the seasonal watering proposal submitted to the VEWH, collaborating with Goulburn Broken CMA to develop recommendations for water use at the site.
Taungurung Land and Water Council has identified and advised on cultural values and uses and how they align with the environmental watering plan at the site. The Baan Ganalina (Guardians of Water) Taungurung water knowledge group has identified key objectives for the site through their cultural Natural Resource Management strategy, including: Healing Country and Healing Knowledge.
In 2019 Taungurung women held a Welcome to Country at the site, marking and celebrating the return of water through environmental flows. A follow up water delivery in 2020 helped to build on the environmental outcomes and heal Country.
Watering activities at Horseshoe Lagoon provide an opportunity to heal Knowledge through developing TLaWC capacity and confidence in water management. In 2021, TLaWC will be responsible for managing the pumping and delivery of the next environmental flow to the site.
“We work in collaboration and with the support of our partners. We have taken on more and more responsibilities with time and the support of our partners is essential. Goulburn Broken CMA, Parks Victoria and the VEWH have shown true support for this purpose,” said TLaWC’s Water Management Officer.
“This year we are delivering the water to this site, we want to include more wetlands in the future and continue Healing Country. It is great to see how we came from coordination to co-management; having our Natural Resource Management crews, Project Officers and Taungurung Rangers working all together to achieve bigger things.”