What next for the northern catchments?

The Draft 2012-18 Regional Catchment Strategy is now out for public consultation, and anyone interested in land health in this area should be concerned to look over what the North Central Catchment Management Authority will, in theory, be using as its guide to action over the next few years. The draft will be the subject of a series of 10 public meetings in the coming weeks. In our region, the community meeting will be held at Campbells Creek Community Centre at 7 pm next Thursday 17 May.

The draft is quite startlingly brutal in its assessment of its predecessor, 2003-7 Strategy: ‘low level of ownership’ by the community, ‘rapidly outdated’, ‘lack of baseline data’, vague targets and vagueness in assigning responsibility for achieving targets are a few of the criticisms it lists of that now defunct document.

This one aims higher, but its success will depend heavily on the willingness of individuals and groups to have a go. This Strategy tries to be specific, and its approach is to begin by identifying assets in the region which can be clear targets for constructive action.

What are those assets? You can help answer that question by turning up at Campbell’s Creek on the 17th and having your say.

This is a wonderful opportunity to have input into the Regional Catchment Strategy – it’s reviewed every 6 years or so and many things can change in that time. It’s important that the community consultations highlight programs to protect, enhance and connect native fauna and flora: these are important not just in themselves, but as partners in creating the kind of land health which can underpin production.

If the word ‘strategy’ turns you off, there are probably lots of good reasons, over use being one. The draft Castlemaine Diggings NHP management plan some years ago listed as an aim the development of ‘a list of strategies…to develop strategies…!’ The word is often used to cover up a lack of activity: it’s important that the Regional Catchment Strategy doesn’t end up like that.

Details of public meetings, and access to the Draft Strategy, can be found by going to http://nccma.bangthetable.com/.

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