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Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Strategy

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Regional Catchment Strategy 2013-2019

RCS sub-strategies and 20 to 30-year objectives - Level 2

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Sub-strategies have been critical in Goulburn Broken Catchment decision making for over two decades. Sub-strategies are usually whole-of-Catchment scale, focusing on assets, threats or supporting themes (Figure 5).

Because the context behind each sub-strategy varies and is continuously changing, sub-strategies are renewed according to their own context, independent of the over-arching RCS renewal cycle. Sub-strategies are developed in consultation with government and community organisations and individuals, providing details for investment plans and priorities. Appendix two summarises how each sub-strategy has evolved.

The RCS provides the strategic framework for aligning sub-strategy implementation by listing the sub-strategies’ 20 to 30-year objectives for biodiversity, land, water and people and providing an overview of assets, threats and priorities at whole-of-Catchment and SES scales.

Each sub-strategy has evolved its own way of defining long-term objectives, often guided by Victorian or Australian Government processes. These objectives are listed. Updating the sub-strategies will include testing how these objectives align with resilience thresholds and how they relate in each SES.

Figure 5: The relationship between the RCS, sub-strategies and SES planning

Biodiversity objectives

The Biodiversity Strategy for the Goulburn Broken Catchment, Victoria 2010-2015 (GB CMA 2010c) outlines a series of management measures for how long and short-term biodiversity objectives will be met, and prioritises geographic areas for two main actions: 1) protecting ecosystem services and 2) enhancing existing remnant vegetation through corridors and linkages.

The Biodiversity Strategy considers Victorian and Australian Government policies and strategies, such as those that guide the identification and protection of threatened species and communities: the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee (FFG) Act 1988, the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 and the Victorian Native Vegetation Framework 2002.

The Biodiversity Strategy contains 20 to 30-year objectives covering the extent, quality and connectivity of native vegetation:

  • Maintain extent and quality of all native habitat at 2005 levels in keeping with the goal of ‘net gain’ listed in Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy 1997
  • Increase the extent of native vegetation in fragmented landscapes by 70,000 hectares by 2030 to restore threatened Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC) and to improve landscape connectivity
  • Improve the quality of 90 per cent of existing (2005) native vegetation by 10 per cent by 2030.

Water objectives

The Goulburn Broken Regional River Health Strategy (GB CMA 2002b), the Goulburn Broken Water Quality Strategy Review (GB CMA 2002c), the Goulburn Broken Regional Floodplain Management Strategy (GB CMA 2002d) provide a basis for action on waterways, wetlands and floodplains. Shallow watertable and salinity management in the SIR is delivered through the Shepparton Irrigation Region Catchment Implementation Strategy (GB CMA 2010b). Groundwater management plans or water supply protection areas have been developed to manage extraction of water from deep lead groundwater aquifers.

A suite of treaties, conventions, initiatives, legislation, policies and strategies direct the management of rivers, floodplains and wetlands, especially the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 and EPBC Act 1999, State Water Act 1989 and the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy (NRSWS) (DSE 2009). Appendices three and four provide a full listing.

Important international treaties, conventions and initiatives include:

  • China Australia Migratory Birds Agreement 1986
  • Republic of Korea Australia Migratory Birds Agreement 2002
  • Japan Australia Migratory Birds Agreement 1974
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention) 1979
  • Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) 1971.

The 20 to 30-year objectives for water, derived from the relevant sub-strategies, are:

River health

Long-term objectives include:

  • 350 kilometres of river maintained in excellent or good condition
  • Ecological flow objectives met in high value reaches
  • Nutrient loads reduced or improved
  • Riparian condition protected or enhanced along 550 kilometres of river
  • In-stream habitat enhanced or reinstated along 140 kilometres of river.

Wetlands

  • The maintenance and improvement of significant wetlands feature in Shepparton Irrigation Region groundwater and salt management planning (Oppy 2010).

Water quality

The resource condition target is to reduce potential phosphorus loads by 65 per cent by 2016 (GB CMA 1996). This will be achieved by reducing phosphorus loads from:

  • Irrigation drains by 50 per cent
  • Dryland and diffuse sources by 20 per cent
  • Wastewater management facilities by 80 per cent
  • Urban storm water
  • Intensive agricultural industries and local water quality issues.

Floodplains

  • Reduce the impact of flooding on the built environment
  • Provide ecosystems with natural flooding patterns where appropriate.

Salinity

  • Manage shallow groundwater for salinity control within the SIR by improved irrigation management on farms, improved surface water management within drainage catchments and consistently pumping groundwater with appropriate reuse over 216,000 hectares
  • Keep increases to salinity levels of the River Murray at Morgan at or below 8.9 EC (electrical conductivity units)
  • Ensure no net increase in stream salinity in the Goulburn River upstream of Goulburn Weir.

Land objectives

The Goulburn Broken Dryland Landscape Strategy (GB CMA 2009b), Shepparton Irrigation Region Catchment Implementation Strategy (GB CMA 2010b), Goulburn Broken Invasive Plants and Animals Strategy 2010-2015 (GB CMA 2010a), Soil Health Action Plan (GB CMA 2006) and Mid Goulburn and Upper Goulburn Sustainable Irrigation Action Plan (GB CMA 2008) provide a basis for action on land and soil.

Key policies relevant to land are the Soil Health Strategy (DSE 2012d), the Victorian Irrigation Drainage Program Strategic Direction 2010-2015 (DSE 2010), the Biosecurity Strategy for Victoria (Government of Victoria 2009) and the Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework (DPI 2010).

The 20 to 30-year objectives for land in the Goulburn Broken Catchment are:

Soil health

  • Protect the environmental values and ecosystem services provided by healthy soils on public and private land, and productive values on private land
  • Build soil health to complement productive values on private land
  • Reduce the impact of threats from inappropriately managed land on natural and built  public and private land
  • Promote sustainable farming practices to ensure the improved productivity from irrigated and dryland agricultural level
  • Prioritise protection of foothills and river valleys of highland areas from salinisation threatening significant terrestrial and aquatic assets.

Invasive plants and animals

  • Prevent the establishment of new and emerging weeds
  • Invasive species in high value asset areas treated to protect assets
  • Manage the impact of established pest animals such as foxes and rabbits.

People objectives

Objectives for involving people in catchment management are guided by the Victorian Landcare Program Strategic Plan (DSE 2012e). Relevant Goulburn Broken CMA sub-strategies include the Goulburn Broken CMA Community Landcare Support Strategy (GB CMA 2010d) and the Goulburn Broken CMA Communication and Marketing Strategy 2010-2011 (GB CMA 2010f).

The 20 to 30-year  objectives for people are:

  • Develop and support functioning and enthusiastic community groups to enable them to play an active part in catchment management
  • Support community leaders taking up leadership positions in catchment management
  • Develop and support improved knowledge in the community of new and emerging catchment threats and thresholds
  • Facilitate the adoption of best management practices by land managers to support the achievement of long-term Catchment objectives.