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Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Strategy

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Regional Catchment Strategy 2013-2019

A summary of sub-Catchment social-ecological systems

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The following descriptions provide a snapshot of the key features and threats to the six sub-Catchment SESs (Figure 6). These descriptions were identified using technical input and in consultation with the Catchment community during the development of this RCS. 

Figure 6: Social-ecological systems of the Goulburn Broken Catchment

Agricultural Floodplains

Northern floodplains with Murray River along boundary with NSW

  • Landscape is highly modified for agriculture with remaining vegetation fragmented, found mainly on waterways and wetlands
  • Irrigation supports dairy, horticulture and cropping and a large food processing sector with major investment in on and off-farm irrigation infrastructure recently – major change for agricultural
  • Barmah National Park highly valued, Ramsar listed - an internationally important breeding site for many migratory bird species
  • A long history of community leadership in managing land and water issues
  • Further loss and decline of vegetation, salinity, poor natural drainage, future farming options, and floods continue to threaten production and river health

Productive Plains

Foothills and floodplains towards the north of the Catchment

  • Habitat provided by remaining native vegetation along waterways, roadsides, ranges and spring-soak wetlands
  • Dryland farming includes sheep, cropping and viticulture and many farms remain in same families for generations with average farming populations ageing
  • Rivers and creeks are assessed as moderate in condition and wetlands in moderate to good condition.
  • Community groups such as Landcare and conservation networks work to sustain threatened species including Regent Honey-eater, complimented by new sustainable farming practices
  • Further habitat loss, ageing farming populations and declining social connection are threats to biodiversity and farming futures

Upland Slopes

Includes the slopes and valleys towards the south of the Catchment

  • Grazing and other agricultural enterprises occur in cleared valleys surrounded by partially forested hills and vegetation along waterways
  • Lake Eildon provides water for recreation, tourism, production and river health  all the way down the Catchment, and beyond its boundary
  • Generational farmers live alongside increasing numbers of lifestyle properties and absentee landholders
  • Erosion, weeds and fires are among the threats to the amount and quality of highly valued water here used for many purposes

Commuting Hills

Includes the mountainous southern and south western urban fringe 

  • Public and private forests support many plant and animals including the Golden Sun Moth
  • Land use also supports range of agricultural industries and lifestyle communities
  • Waterways largely remain healthy because of the extent of remaining vegetation
  • People are drawn to area for its natural beauty and the lifestyle its offers and commute to Melbourne for work
  • Fire remains a major threat to safety and properties, along with native vegetation loss through population pressures and development

Southern Forests

Forests, waterways and snow covered alps draw many visitors to this area

  • Unique alpine vegetation supports the  endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum
  • Most of the area is public land managed for conservation, but also for recreation and timber production
  • Waterways are in good condition with recreation and tourism highly valued
  • People live in small and seasonal communities and travel to and from this area, the interface between private and public land is important for management
  • Waterway health is threatened by erosion along with other threats to vegetation including fire and weeds and vermin

Urban Centres

Major urban centres of Shepparton, Seymour and Benalla

  • Biodiversity is poor but urban people value the rivers and remaining vegetation for recreation
  • Provide employment, housing, schools and services surrounded by farming and lifestyle properties on Goulburn and Broken River floodplains
  • Water is pumped from the rivers for domestic use and runs off into rivers following storms
  • Large ethnically diverse populations
  • Pollution, land development and aquatic weeds threaten river health, including water quality and floods are an on-going threat to properties and safety