Page 142 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 4.1 Western region overview
 Community benefits from environmental watering
Healthy rivers and wetlands support vibrant and healthy communities. By improving the health of rivers, wetlands and floodplains, environmental flows also provide benefits to communities.
The VEWH and its program partners consider Aboriginal cultural, social and recreational values and uses of waterways when planning for environmental watering activities. Through engagement with community representatives, waterway managers aim to determine where community benefits from environmental flows can be optimised, while achieving environmental priorities for the year ahead.
Healthy waterways provide community benefits (such as providing nice places to walk, picnic or fish recreationally and sustaining healthy Country for Aboriginal communities).
Community benefits can sometimes be enhanced by modifying environmental flows (such as timing a flow to support a community rowing or fishing event), provided the environmental objective is not compromised.
The VEWH and its partners seek to deliver these benefits throughout the water year, though the opportunities
can depend on the weather, climate or environmental conditions, water availability and the way the system is being operated to deliver water for other purposes.
 How have Traditional Owners’ values and uses of waterways been considered?
In recognition of the cultural importance of water, caring
for Country and their long-standing traditional ecological knowledge, Traditional Owners are increasingly working with waterway managers to plan for and deliver environmental flows. The following are examples in the western region:
• repeating the successful watering of Ranch Billabong
at Dimboola. The Barengi Gadjin Land Council highlighted Ranch Billabong as a significant site during an Aboriginal Waterways Assessment in 2017. Water for the environment was delivered to the site in 2018–19 and 2019–20 to reduce salinity, improve the condition of vegetation and native wildlife and improve its suitability for Traditional Owner gatherings and events (such as earth oven and bark canoe re-creations)
• building on the achievements of the Towards Cultural Flows project (an ongoing partnership between Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Barengi Gadjin Land Council and Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation in south-eastern SA), Traditional Owners and Glenelg Hopkins CMA will continue to identify opportunities for environmental flows to support cultural values and uses in the Glenelg River
• Glenelg Hopkins CMA will liaise with Traditional Owners about the timing of a summer fresh in the Glenelg River to align with the Johnny Mullagh Cup cricket match held in Harrow; the match is played by Aboriginal descendants of the first Australian international team that toured England in 1868.
Where participation of Traditional Owners in the planning and delivery of water for the environment has explicitly identified particular flows supporting cultural outcomes, these are identified in the system sections.
How have economic, recreational and social values and uses of waterways been considered?
Environmental outcomes provide some direct economic, recreational, social benefits to communities. Waterway managers, in consultation with communities, have identified numerous opportunities to support these community benefits, including activities such as tourism, fishing, birdwatching, boating, and hunting. Examples in the western region include:
• improving fishing opportunities throughout the upper and middle reaches of the Glenelg catchment,
where environmental flows support numerous fishing competitions and the Balmoral, Casterton and Dartmoor angling clubs
• keeping the Wimmera River flowing through late spring and summer/autumn, supporting many community activities including water-skiing at the Horsham and Dimboola Weir pools, the Dimboola (rowing) Regatta, the Wimmera River Duck Race (to raise money for
the Wimmera Health Care Group) and the Horsham, Dimboola and Jeparit fishing competitions.
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