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 5.2 Victorian Murray system
The Barapa Barapa Water for Country project has led to the creation of the Barapa Barapa Cultural Watering Objectives Framework, which is a guiding document to ensure cultural priorities and outcomes are considered and incorporated
in environmental water planning and management. The framework considers cultural objectives matched with hydrological considerations, indicators and measures for monitoring success (Table 5.2.4). These objectives are considered in conjunction with the environmental and functional watering objectives for the potential watering actions in Table 5.2.5.
Planning for environmental watering in 2020–21 included discussion of vegetation monitoring results, forest condition and potential watering requirements with a field ecologist and a field visit to review the previous year’s cultural objectives and outcomes and discuss potential new objectives.
Applying the framework during seasonal watering proposal engagement with Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners will ensure that environmental watering activities incorporate Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners’ cultural aspirations and that water managers are culturally informed when delivering environmental water.
All potential watering actions in Table 5.2.5 provide the opportunity to support Barapa Barapa cultural values and objectives, but achievement will be guided by climatic conditions.
Table 5.2.4 Barapa Barapa cultural objectives for environmental watering in Gunbower Forest 2020–21 (from the Barapa Barapa Cultural Watering Objectives Framework)
 Cultural objective
   Hydrological aim
 Promote and maintain healthy and abundant native fish communities in Gunbower Creek and Gunbower Forest
   Presence of water in wetlands before spring to support fish spawning events
 Presence of native fish spawning
Native fish populations show a range of ages
 Fish surveys, larval sampling
 Presence of water in deep wetlands, so that fish can survive for longer
  Presence of native fish following watering event
  Fish surveys
 Promote the natural flow of water
   Water flows via natural flow paths to culturally important sites
  Presence of water at culturally significant sites (e.g. fish ponds)
  Photo points, site surveys
 Presence of healthy looking and smelling forest
   Presence of healthy canopies and good ground cover on the forest floodplain
   Plant surveys
  Promote and maintain healthy cultural plants and resources
   Presence of water in small wetlands and depressions to provide resources across the forest, particularly in dry years
 Presence of food and fibre resources distributed across the forest
 Cultural harvests, plant surveys, seed collection
 Presence of water in wetlands which are healthy
  A diverse range of plants, animals and insects living in harmony
  Results of monitoring activities (e.g. macroinvertebrate surveys, flora and fauna surveys)
 Promote healthy waterbird populations
   Presence of water in wetlands that support waterbird breeding
   Presence of waterbird breeding
   Waterbird surveys, spring– summer surveys for eggs
     206 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21

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