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Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Strategy

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Regional Catchment Strategy 2013-2019

Strategic objective: To adapt to climate variability

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What this will mean:  Risks from climate variability and responses to it are managed and opportunities from the global shift towards lower use of carbon-based energy are captured.

The climate of the Goulburn Broken Catchment is expected to become hotter and drier in the long term, with the greatest reductions of rainfall in spring (DSE 2012b). Greater climate variability is expected in the short-term, with increased numbers of hot days, reduced numbers of frosts, and changes in daily rainfall patterns. The unprecedented conditions of the 1997-2009 drought were worse than the worst climate change scenario considered in developing the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy (DSE 2009).

These changes affect all natural assets. Habitat for terrestrial and aquatic species will alter, impacting on species distributions. Threats such as weed and pest animal invasions will also change, causing the likely extinction of some species (CSIRO 2012). Higher water temperatures and reduced stream flows could affect water quality, habitat values for aquatic and riparian species, and productive and recreational uses of water. Drought is likely to exacerbate erosion and sedimentation and increase extreme bushfire events. Climate-related issues are a major consideration of water policy reform (see Strategic Objective: To adapt to water reform policy). Climate-driven pressures are likely to result in land-use changes, such as fewer people living in bushfire-prone areas and different agricultural enterprises.

Sub-strategy design and implementation needs to include likely impacts of climate variability and consider risks and opportunities presented by the emerging move to a low carbon future (Table 6).

Table 6.  Whole-of-Catchment scale strategic priorities to adapt to climate variability

Context

Management measure

The Goulburn Broken CMA will help disseminate climate projection data that has implications for management of natural assets so that it can be factored into Goulburn Broken CMA and partner organisation planning.

Strategic priority: Adapt to climate variability risk

Factor risks of climate variability and identify adaptation strategies in Goulburn Broken CMA and partner plans

Factor risks to natural assets into public land fire management plans

Record breaking climate-induced events over the last decade highlight the importance of well-planned and coordinated emergency responses and recoveries.

Strategic priority: Respond to and recover from climatic events

Plan and implement flood, fire and drought responses and recoveries

Emerging policies that are likely to influence new land-use practices, such as carbon sequestration planting and opportunistic planting regimes, need to consider positive and negative impacts on natural assets, including biodiversity and water yields. These types of planting might provide biodiversity habitat as well as income diversification in some areas.

Strategic priority: Capture opportunities from a low carbon future

Identify where carbon sequestration activities provide environmental, economic and social benefits

Develop mechanisms to ensure carbon sequestration activities do not threaten natural assets