Page 191 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
P. 191

 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 and 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 align with 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. Examples in the northern region include:
• supporting the Barapa Barapa Wamba Wemba Water for Country project, where Barapa Barapa people, Wamba Wemba people and North Central CMA work together to involve Traditional Owners in the planning, monitoring and reporting of watering in Guttrum Forest, Gunbower Forest and Gunbower Creek
• supporting restoration of significant floodplain sites
with the First People of the Millewa-Mallee and other Traditional Owner groups across the lower Murray region
• supporting Taungurung Traditional Owners to achieve ecological goals as part of healing Country, including potentially using Taungurung water entitlements to deliver environmental flows in the King River
• ongoing work by Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners and Goulburn Broken CMA to incorporate Yorta Yorta values into environmental water planning in Barmah Forest and other sites across Yorta Yorta Country.
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.
Traditional Owners’ cultural values and uses are also increasingly considered as part of Murray-Darling Basin Plan annual environmental water planning and management. The Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations have been working on the First Nations Environmental Water Guidance Project to support Nations to identify objectives, priorities and issues related to environmental watering and support increased participation in environmental water planning and management. The project was undertaken with support from Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.
A statement prepared by the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations summarising the participating Nations’ priorities for environmental watering in the southern Murray Darling Basin in 2020–21 is provided on page 190. This work has informed development of annual environmental water priorities at the Basin-scale and will support decision making as the year progresses.
The VEWH and its program partners will look for opportunities to continue strengthening the partnerships with and participation of Traditional Owners in environmental water planning and management in Victoria in ways that can support their objectives, cultural values and connection to Country. Through its role in the Southern Connected Basin Environmental Watering Committee, the VEWH
will also support the environmental watering priorities
and aspirations of Nations in the broader southern Murray-Darling Basin.
5.1 Northern region overview
  Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 189

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