Page 88 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 3.1 Central region overview
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 central region in 2020–21 include:
• ongoing work by Wadawurrung (Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation) and Corangamite CMA to share knowledge of cultural values and environmental water planning. Wadawurrung have shared knowledge of significant sites (such as refuge pools and river confluences traditionally used as meeting places for clans) and animals with cultural value including platypus, eels and blackfish, and they have recommended how these can be supported by environmental flows. Corangamite CMA has incorporated this into its environmental water planning and management of environmental flows in collaboration with Wadawurrung
• ongoing work with the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Melbourne Water to implement initiatives under the Yarra River Strategic Plan, in particular the restoration of billabongs on
the lower Yarra floodplain. Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people and the Narrap ranger team are helping identify the cultural and environmental values of the billabongs, supporting environmental water planning and management and monitoring outcomes of environmental water deliveries at the billabongs.
Where the involvement of Traditional Owners in planning and delivering water for the environment has explicitly identified environmental 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 of these opportunities in the central region include:
• enhancing major events (such as Moomba and the Inflatable Regatta) through summer and autumn flows that improve water quality in the Yarra River
• supporting recreational fishing in the Barwon River by allowing species including river blackfish and short- finned eel to move between pools to breed, feed and find new habitats.
Summaries of the social, recreational and economic values considered are provided for each system. Where the timing or management of planned environmental flows may be modified to align with a community benefit, this is identified alongside the potential watering actions.
 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 values and uses 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 how community benefits from environmental flows can be optimised 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 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.
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