National Wetlands Update February 2013
Issue No. 22, February 2013
Victoria moves to a fully integrated program for rivers, wetlands and estuaries
Janet Holmes, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment
The Draft Victorian Waterway Strategy, released in October 2012 for public comment, signalled an important step in the integration of management for rivers, wetlands and estuaries in Victoria. Rivers, wetlands and estuaries are now managed under a single program which follows an eight-year adaptive management cycle.
The eight-year adaptive management cycle for waterways in Victoria.
(Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment)
The Victorian Waterway Management Strategy, when finalised in early to mid 2013, will set out the State policy and planning framework for rivers, wetlands and estuaries. This will be complemented by the development of Regional Waterway Strategies (RWSs) by Victoria's catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water.
RWSs will outline eight-year programs of priority actions and provide the basis for annual investment in on-ground works and environmental water management by the Victorian Government. The Strategy will also provide direction to other funding sources. A key feature of the program will be improved integration between the management of environmental water and other on-ground works to protect or improve key community values in priority waterways.
In delivering the Victorian Waterway Management Program, steps are undertaken to ensure that investment is effective. Monitoring of interventions is undertaken to improve knowledge about the relationships between management actions and waterway health outcomes to develop and improve work standards.
Additionally, long term monitoring of resource condition detects broader patterns and trends in the condition of Victoria's waterways. The Victorian Waterway Management Program reporting, evaluation and improvement framework includes independent reviews of both the Victorian Waterway Strategy and regional waterway strategies at the end of the eight year adaptive cycle.
The main source of funding for waterway management in Victoria comes from core Victorian Government funds and the Environmental Contribution. The Environmental Contribution is a levy on Victorian water businesses that funds initiatives that promote the sustainable management of water or address adverse environmental impacts of water consumption and extraction. Other funding comes from a waterways charge which applies in the Port Phillip and Westernport region, Australian Government programs and financial and in-kind contributions from the community.
Further details on Victoria's adaptive management program for rivers, wetlands and estuaries can be found in the Draft Victorian Waterway Management Strategy on the DSE website . The draft strategy also sets out the policies and actions proposed to address specific waterway management issues.