How are landholders managing Crown Water Frontages in the Goulburn Broken Catchment? Condition monitoring and licence review.
Anyone involved in riparian management will be aware of the vagaries associated with Crown Water Frontages. Where are they, what is its extent, who really owns this land, who is managing it, do I have freedom of access, what's the river doing over there, why is it being grazed, can I lease it or can I fish and camp here? Hey, I wouldn't mind some of that firewood.
Catchment Management Authorities in Victoria have a responsibility to maintain and improve stream health. Fundamental to stream health is a healthy riparian zone and good quality terrestrial habitat. Significant areas of Victoria's riparian zone are covered by Crown Water Frontages and therefore it is vital to ensure these areas are in good condition and managed appropriately to ensure our rivers remain healthy. So what is the condition of our Crown Frontages, where are they, is their condition improving or declining, what are the management arrangements and are those arrangements appropriate?
Earth Tech Engineering (Earth Tech) in conjunction with RM Consulting Group (RMCG) was engaged by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA) to undertake a detailed assessment of riparian Crown land on the Broken River between Casey's Weir and Shepparton. In addition to detailed condition assessments of individual licensed and unlicensed frontages, the licence conditions and institutional arrangements were also reviewed.
This project repeated condition assessments performed in 2000 to gauge the condition trajectory. New condition assessment methods were adopted and 'minimum standards' and condition targets were formulated. Following review and public consultation, licensing arrangements were devised including recommendations to alter the 'grazing licenses' to 'conservation licenses' where appropriate.
This paper describes the methods and processes of condition monitoring adopted for this project that has since been utilised in further Crown land assessments in the GBCMA region.