The Bidgee Banks project was a flagship initiative for riparian rehabilitation on farms. In 2½ years from 2000 to 2003, the project involved 262 landmanagers in the rehabilitation of 263 km of river and 1336 ha of riparian zone. Bidgee Banks addressed deteriorating water quality and vegetation loss along the Murrumbidgee River and its tributaries by actively engaging the community in on ground river management to establish 339 km of fencing, plant 192 903 tubestock, and sow 190 km of direct seeding.
The Bidgee Banks model demonstrated how strategic partnerships, community involvement and a commitment to farmer friendly, cost effective on-ground delivery can improve river health and contribute to basin wide sustainability. In 2002, ‘Bidgee Banks was recognised for its achievements by winning a prestigious national Banksia award in the category of Bush, Land and Waterways, and in 2003 a United Nations Association Award for Excellence in Land Management.
The Bidgee Banks project was an Australian Government funded community-government-partnership between Greening Australia, the then NSW Department of Land & Water Conservation (DLWC) and river managers in the upper and mid Murrumbidgee catchments of NSW. Landholders were provided incentives for materials and they contributed labour and machinery costs at a ratio of $1 (project) to $1.50 (landholders).
EXCITINGLY the project outcomes 12 years on are now being investigated by an Honours student from Uni of Canberra, who is finding that projects are mostly very successful. Watch this space towards the end of 2014!