The Boorowa River Catchment is 2200km² (220 000 ha) and is the headwaters for the Lachlan River – one of the major tributaries in the Murray Darling Basin. It was chosen as a National River Recovery site in 2007, because it was one of the then Lachlan Catchment Management Authority’s priorities for water quality and salinity management, and community capacity was high with established relationships.
The project included the Boorowa River and key tributaries with significant habitat values such as the Pudman Creek, one of the only creeks west of the Great Divide with no feral fish, and home to a translocated population of the threatened Southern Pygmy Perch.
Seed funding of $50,000 began the development of BRR which ultimately became a $2.2 million flagship riparian rehabilitation project. BRR aimed to:
(1) recover the health of the upper Boorowa River and its tributaries to improve water quality for the township of Boorowa and downstream users along the Lachlan River.
(2) conserve, connect and enhance biodiversity by increasing the native vegetation cover on farms, and to link remnant riparian vegetation.
(3) increase rural and urban community understanding of NRM to improve farm practices and sustainable livelihoods.
Original key performance indicators included the following. All of these targets were exceeded!!
- protect and rehabilitate 50 km of the Boorowa River and its tributaries.
- protect, enhance and link 250 ha of high conservation value vegetation.
- protect and enhance habitat for threatened species such as the Southern Pygmy Perch, Superb Parrot and others.
- provide shelter and clean water for domestic stock on 50 properties.
- seek and secure Corporate investment.
- engage schools, community groups and volunteers.
- raise awareness of the general community about river health.
BRR was a partnership project managed by Greening Australia Capital Region (GACR) in collaboration with the LCMA and Boorowa Community Landcare Group (BCLG)(formerly the BRCC). The project was supported by TransGrid, Alcoa, Australian Government, NSW Environmental Trust and the community.
BRR rehabilitated and / or protected 640 ha of riparian area along 80km of river, involved more than 60 land managers through tailor-made works programs outlined in individual 10 year management contracts, and included a continuous 29km stretch of the Boorowa River above the town water supply dam.Also involved were four corporate partners, eight community groups, two local schools, two Councils and the broader community. A priority for the project was to engage broader community support with events such as River Science Forums, plantings and other educational activities with local schools and community groups.
BRR has won many awards as a result of the innovative and engaging way partners worked together to achieve many ecological, socio-political, and economic outcomes as demonstrated by a 2013 evaluation undertaken (as part of a Masters degree) based on a six year monitoring program (document available upon request).The project laid the foundations for the successful Rivers of Carbon project to continue the great work accomplished by BRR.