Working together to protect an important waterway

Landmate and the Northern Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) are working with local landholders to safeguard Birch’s Creek – a key water catchment and home to important populations of platypus and river black fish.

Birch’s Creek is an upper tributary of the Loddon River in Northern Victoria. It provides drinking water to a number of local towns such as Maryborough.

A view of Birch's creek showing woody weed infestation.

Along the 38 kilometres of the project area, the lower reaches of the creek have historically been maintained quite well, while areas in the upper reaches were severely affected by issues such as willow and woody weed infestations. Left unmanaged, these problems can have significant impacts on water quality and the health and numbers of native animal populations.

When they received funding through the Victorian Government’s Environmental Contribution Levee program in 2016, the NCCMA reached out to landholders along the creek and received an overwhelmingly positive response – vital to the project because most of the creek is on private property rather than crown land.

The NCCMA has had a long relationship with Landmate and engaged crews to help with key activities such as fencing to manage stock access to the waterway (to improve water quality, reduce erosion and nutrient input into the creek) and woody weed control, particularly the poisoning of large woody weeds like willows and hawthorn which crowd out native species and cause a range of other issues for the creek. 

As part of its partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Landmate was able to provide services at no cost – which reduced project costs and allowed more work to be carried out along the creek. Landmate crews worked in conjunction with contractors, individual landholders and other stakeholders like Central Highlands Water.

And more work is planned. The NCCMA is building a project proposal for funding for a further four years, so that follow up weed control and further revegetation can happen – so that the health of Birch’s Creek can be protected into the future.