Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Five starting points for looking after our creeks

A stronger voice for the creeks sounds like a good thing to me. Here are five starting points that might get us there, but we warned, each is a long road. As you consider which of these you are interested in, think about what you want to do and develop for yourself as you contribute to each.

Showcase what we do already. We have to get savvy about communication. At Stanley Park, Greening of Riddell, and now in Gisborne, regular working bees improve the health of creeks. Working bees in Barrm Birrm show people what is happening in that big piece of bush. And we have walking the creek events - follow the links for a note on Bullengarook Landcare showcasing creek work and some photos of the walks organised by Dean Platt in the south end of the Macedon.

These events have been developed over years, and our communities know about them. We can make more of the effort we're putting in there with publicity that gets through to those who are be ready to join in. That means being clear about who we want to target, and understanding what they think and value. 

Those who like communication work can then learn how to get the message through. Community groups can call on government programs to support the way we communicate community events, because connecting people to nature and educating them and providing opportunities for action is a central goal in the State Biodiversity Strategy, the Healthy Waterways Strategy, and the Environmental Volunteering Plan.

Walk the creeks of the Macedon. If more people walk our creeks, they’ll learn about them, fall in love with them and get noisy about them. Let’s tell people what’s there and make it easy for them to venture out. This will also bring more people closer to environmental volunteering, so those who want to make a difference can.

Get the data: Citizen Science. Agencies have the historical record, but community recording at critical points along our creeks can highlight stresses, show progress and what action is needed, and educate our communities about how the creeks are faring. This is another avenue for more people to join in. The committed few will stay the course, but let’s share the love and bring others in.

Improve water quality up-stream. Western Water wants to expand capacity at Riddell’s treatment plant. What incentives could it offer to landholders, and where, to improve water quality up-stream? How do we get compliance to what has already been officially decide is essential for our waterways?

Make promises transparent. The community has longer memories than government. That comes down to a few people, admittedly, but these are people who know what was studied, recommended, promised. Can we afford to let people fly in the face of standards and regulations, reducing flows and compromising stream health downstream? Let’s address the long game being played, and lift the heat on the past and present promises.

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