Yesterday was a day to celebrate the power of partnerships to make a difference, at a special event marking delivery of environmental water to the River Murray floodplain near Berri in the South Australian Riverland. Guests gathered on the lawns by Weir & Lock No 4 to hear how the local irrigator group has joined forces with the Water for Nature Program of Nature Foundation SA to deliver water from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder back to the River Murray environment. This project is applying water to sustain black box and red gum seedlings which germinated following flood events and summer storms of the last 2 years. A total of 100 ML will be applied to 20 hectares of floodplain.
The event concluded with a bus tour to key locations on the floodplain, to view water being pumped into a flood runner to form a pool behind an aquadam in order to water seedling red gums and black box along the edges of the water. Nearby, large capacity sprinklers rained water over a field of hundreds of black box seedlings. The purpose of the watering is to sustain natural regeneration through its first 1-2 summers, until the seedlings have developed tap roots to reach the water table. With very severe losses of mature red gums and black box trees along the length of the River Murray Valley during the Millenium drought, it is urgent to sustain as many of possible of the seedlings germinated naturally by recent minor flood events and useful local summer storms.
This project has involved very significant input in in-kind and direct costs from the landholder, the local irrigator group Bookpurnong Lock 4 Environmental Association (BL4EA), the Bookpurnong Loxton Local Action Planning group, the regional office of SA Water, and the Berri SES. This is a great example of localism at work in the Murray-Darling Basin, where the Water for Nature program of Nature Foundation SA has brokered partnerships to deliver water provided by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder. This project is just the beginning!