June 2010

Upper Yarra bushfire recovery

29.06.2010 - Posted by Misko Ivezich
Last week Dom Blackham and I visited the upper Yarra catchment, which was severely burnt during the devastating fires of February 2009. We were really pleased with the amount of native regeneration we saw in the catchment, especially in the riparian zones. In the years following bushfires there is a heightened risk of erosion as the stabilising vegetation is often lost. In the upper Yarra catchment we were amazed at the amount of gravels and cobbles that have been eroded from hill slopes and gullies. We saw the remnants of huge debris flows, where tonnes of unconsolidated cobbles, boulders and logs have been transported down gullies, eroding more material as they go. A small tributary in the Steels Creek catchment had been completely infilled by coarse sediment. It now looks more like a gravel road than a waterway.

A tributary in the upper Steels Creek catchment which has completely in filled with gravel now resembling a gravel road!

Native regeneration in the riparian zone of Steele Creek

The inflows of coarse sediment appear to have had a dramatic impact on the geomorphic form of streams in the burned areas. The photos below show a creek in the upper Arthurs Creek catchment at the point where tonnes of gravel and cobbles have been delivered from an eroded gully. Upstream of the eroded gully the channel appeared homogeneous with uniform bed form and hydraulic habitat (Photo). Downstream of the sediment inflow the channel form and flow was much more diverse, with pools and riffles forming in the deposited coarse sediment. We also noticed a large volume of large wood that has been delivered to the creeks and stream.

Arthurs Creek just upstream of where the gully erosion has entered the waterway

Arthurs Creek just downstream of where the gully erosion has entered the waterway. Check out the difference in bed material!

Bushfires present some issues for waterway managers in their immediate aftermath, mainly due to the increased occurrence of erosion and flooding. However seeing these systems more than a year after the February 2009 fires suggested that the post-fire effects may actually increase geomorphic and habitat diversity. We left thinking that bushfires might not be all bad news for the health of our waterways.

A great place to work

24.06.2010 - Posted by Amanda Wealands

The BRW list for the Best Places to Work was released today and we're very proud to be listed in the top 50 places in Australia to work (ranked 40)! The list is based on surveys undertaken by the Great Place to Work Institute in which we were judged by our staff and evaluated against five benchmarks: credibility, fairness, camaraderie, pride and respect.  

Australian Farm Institute seminar

22.06.2010 - Posted by
The Australian Farm Institute (the other AFI) has recently released a research report titled, “Making decision about environmental water allocations”. The report was authored by two environmental scientists (Norris & Kingsford) and two economists (Bennett & Young).

When announced water buyback & infrastructure upgrade programs are completed, the environment will be the largest holder of water entitlements in Australia. The work covered in the report seeks to inform how those environmental entitlements will be used in the most effective and efficient manner to build community confidence and underpin the sustainable management of water-dependent ecosystems.

The report is available for $60.00 from the AFI website -http://www.farminstitute.org.au/_catalog_31033/Research_Reports

Future Summit

7.06.2010 - Posted by
The annual Future Summit was held recently in Melbourne. Hosted by the Australian Davos Connection (ADC), the Future Summit aims to bring together leaders from business, government, the public sector, academia and the broader community to improve their understanding of key issues affecting Australia. Unsurprisingly the rise and rise of Asia, population growth, sustainability and the green economy all featured highly in different plenary sessions.

The Australia Report 2010 was a product of the 2009 Summit and additional work by ADC and KPMG. The Australia Report 2010: Risks and Opportunities is a landmark report in risk analysis for Australia as it addresses the risks and opportunities facing the nation over the next decade, acknowledging their interconnectedness. The report looks at the business risks and opportunities facing Australia over the next decade across the economic, political, environmental, societal and technological boundaries.

Selling the unsellable

1.06.2010 - Posted by Amanda Wealands
A pretty interesting seminar coming up from the RBMS - a night of talking about differnt approaches to achieving stock exclusion from riparian land. Hope to see you there.