Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith and local member for Mildura Peter Crisp met with volunteers of Landcare groups working on environmental projects in North West Victoria today.
A barbeque lunch was held by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for the members of the region's newest Landcare group – Red Cliffs Community Landcare group that formed last year – with the Minister attending to congratulate the volunteers on their hard work.
The Red Cliffs Community Landcare group, based at the Red Cliffs Community College, is the vision of committed teachers, parents and student body that aims to establish a sustainable school where Landcare activities are integrated into their curriculum.
The group is driven by school students and the focus of their work benefits the wider community through projects including a sustainable no-dig garden, chicken coop and worm farm.
Funding for the project was provided through the Victorian Landcare Program, managed through the Department of Sustainability and Environment, which aims to create and develop a community Landcare group based around youth and education. The Red Cliffs Community Landcare group has also been assisted by the Mallee Flood Recovery Environmental Employment (FREE) program.
Mr Smith also visited the Foster Street Drain Rehabilitation project to see work carried out by the Yelta Landcare Group that formed in 1995 and is also responsible for a range of projects around the Yelta and Merbein areas, including major revegetation works currently in progress.
The Foster Street drain rehabilitation project began five years ago on a storm outfall drain that flooded across the Merbein area. The site was becoming highly eroded due to uncontrolled water discharge from the Merbein Township, particularly during high rainfall events and had a long history as a dumping ground for rubbish and scrap metal.
The group addressed the drainage and erosion problem by implementing a controlled water flow regime that ended in a wetland area and conducted extensive on-ground works. Projects include the modification of the existing drainage channel, revegetation, pest plant control actions and construction of a shallow drainage dam that has become a small but important wetland that utilises the once wasted town storm water run-off.
Red Cliffs Community Landcare Group and Yelta Landcare Group are part of a consortium of four Northern Mallee Landcare groups which were successful in securing funding from the Coalition Government's Local Landcare Facilitator Initiative for a Landcare Facilitator to support their groups and projects.