Friday, February 26, community members met at cluBarham to take part in a Koondrook-Perricoota (KP) Visioning Workshop facilitated by Western Murray Land Improvement Group (WMLIG).
The intent of the day was to help the community identify what a healthy KP forest means to them.
KP Forest is Australia’s largest redgum forest spanning 33,759Ha.
As you drive past the KP Forest on the Moulamein Road it is hard to ignore the colossal banks and outlets that lay dormant. The huge engineering exercise costing more than $100 million was the NSW State Government’s approach to meeting Murray Darling Basin Plan objectives.
Unable to use the engineering white elephant and KP Forest’s health still dire, the community is leading the charge to find a workable, pragmatic solution that can be driven by people invested in the outcome.
To open the day, Roger Knight from WMLIG gave a rundown of how the day would operate and the potential for community to influence the forest management going forward.
David McConnell shared an update from the Koondrook Perricoota Alliance. The Koondrook Perricoota Alliance represents stakeholders who may be affected by KP Forest watering and looks to address those concerns through a range of measures.
Watering regimes proposed by local stakeholders are aimed at using small flows of increasing volumes. This will allow for appropriate monitoring of water distribution and impacts in the forest, and affects downstream landholders.
Expertise for the workshop came in the form of Dan Hutton and Dr John Conalin. Their passion, practical knowledge, and willingness to foster relationships with the community is something to be commended.
Participants were divided into two groups to identify four key criteria,
- Things they liked about KP now
- Challenges they see in KP now
- Things they would like avoided in KP, now and into the future
- Things they would like promoted in KP, now and into the future.
A wide and varied mix of responses came from both groups as they collaborated in good spirit.
Risks and challenges ranged from fire, blackwater, forest access, top-down management and salinity, while the positive side of the coin featured tourism, timber, ecology, fishing, yabbying, community and a healthy forest.
Using the themes identified, the attendees worked to capture key objectives for current management and objectives. These objectives will be far from static; prudent water and land management takes adaptability and eyes on the outcomes, not just the process.
“We take pride in encouraging our community to be in the position to co-design and co-develop a vision for our community forest. A community-led process empowers our people and gets us working toward a common goal.” – Roger Knight, Executive Officer WMLIG.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 4 March 2021.