Bringing Murie Creek back to health

Plans are in motion for community and government to come together and explore options for the future of the Murie Creek, near Condobolin. Known as the Murie Creek Project, the collaboration sees the team, including Aboriginal staff, from the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy and the Environment (DCCEEW) working with First Nations communities.

The aim of the project is to build meaningful relationships and participation in environmental water planning.

A two-day workshop was held at Wiradjuri Study Centre on Wednesday, 15 May and Thursday, 16 May. The workshop was co-designed by Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation and DCCEEW’s Water for the Environment team and encouraged participants to share stories and aspirations for Murie Creek. They were also invited to share what species they would like to see thriving in the river system.

Kaleana Reyland, First Nations Team Leader – First Nations Programs, NSW Water for the Environment, said it was vitally important for Aboriginal communities to take part in environmental water planning.

“Our First Nations Program creates opportunities for Aboriginal communities to take part in environmental water planning,” she explained.

“The workshop is part of the Healing Country Program. The Healing Country Program delivers on key aspects of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and is currently funded by the Commonwealth under the Federation Funding Agreement.

“We focus on developing relationships and trust between NSW Water for the Environment and Aboriginal people and communities across the NSW portion of the Basin. We listen to Aboriginal people on how they think water for the environment should be used to heal Country.

“The Murie Creek workshop is a fantastic example where we have been able to co-design with the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Local Land Council and Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation to hear how Aboriginal people want to heal Country along the Lachlan River.

“The workshop is about empowering local Aboriginal communities to have a say on what native fish should return to Murie Creek, and how the health of the rivers should be managed.
“Following the workshop, we will continue to work with Condobolin Aboriginal people to develop options for how water for the environment can best support the desired tangible and intangible benefits.”

As part of the workshop, local fish biologist, Dr Adam Kerezsy, and Lake Cowal Foundation Project Manager, Mal Carnegie, showed members of the Wiradjuri Condobolin Youth Group how to undertake fish and waterbug surveys. This is a great way to start the conversation around “what we are managing for?”

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation CEO Harold ‘Ally’ Coe said the partnership created with NSW Water for the Environment could help improve the water quality at Murie Creek and enable the community to reconnect with a very special place close to many people’s hearts.

“By joining forces with NSW Water for the Environment and Condobolin Local Aboriginal Local Land Council we are looking to improve the quality of water in the Murie Creek, so species such as yabbies and fish can flourish,” he stated.

“By making it as healthy as we possibly can, this will then allow for local people to enjoy recreational activities around the waterways.

“We are attempting to involve as many local people as possible, irrespective if they are descended from the Murie or not, as this will give us the greatest chance of restoring the health of the water system and ultimately reconnecting to a culturally significant place.”

Long term water plans (LTWPs) were developed for each of the nine river catchments in New South Wales (NSW) in 2019/20. The plans aim to improve the way water is managed to maximise river and wetland health over five, 10, and 20-year timeframes.

The pans are due for their five-year review and update, which will involve a broad content review and a focused review of First Nations participation and content. The Murie Creek Project is a positive example of how the update of the plans will include a strong Aboriginal voice in river management.

Last Updated: 05/06/2024By

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