The RMMAC (on behalf of the FPRMMR Native Title holders) have produced a River Murray and Mallee Country Plan (RMMAC, 2020), which includes a framework for engagement with FPRMMR on water resource management, their visions and values, and information on culturally important river species. To capture the FPRMMR interests and objectives in relation to environmental water, the River Murray and Mallee Country Plan includes the Aboriginal Water Interests Logic Program, which identifies two high-level aspirational goals ‘To see our lands and waters healthy to maintain our cultural connections to the lands, water and all living things’ and ‘to achieve the social and economic outcomes and wellbeing desired by the First People of the River Murray and Mallee Region’.
On 19 April 2023, a dedicated meeting was held in Berri with the FPRMMR and members of the RMMAC Working Group to share information on the 2022 flood, present the water actions proposed for 2023-24 and to understand their cultural values associated with watering actions. Future tours and workshop will be undertaken in June 2023 and throughout 2023-24 to seek further FPRMMR input into the planning and delivery of water for the environment.
Aboriginal Waterways Assessments (AWAs) are an important tool used by Traditional Owners to assess the cultural values of wetlands and other important sites to support water for the environment and wetland management planning. The FPRMMR have amended the tool for their use and have undertaken AWAs at a number of floodplain and wetland sites over the past five years, including revisiting some sites to see the outcomes from delivering water for the environment. AWAs enable the sharing of knowledge between First Peoples and environmental water managers about environmental watering actions and the management of sites to meet cultural and environmental outcomes. AWAs will continue to be undertaken by FPRMMR at priority watering sites in 2023-24, including Hogwash Bend, Overland Corner and Chowilla wetlands.
As has occurred in the previous year, in 2023-24 the RMMAC Aboriginal Rangers will continue to work closely with the DEW ecologists on a range of monitoring activities across the floodplains and wetlands of the Riverland including turtle tracking, scar tree health assessments, fish surveys, and water quality data collection.
This includes a water allocation of 230ML for the Overland Corner Lignum Basins (aka the Green Chillies) to support the threatened Southern bell frogs and the diverse wetland plant community at the site.
Although the electric pump is out of action while we work through a bit of post-flood remediation, the CEWH very kindly agreed to include the cost of a portable diesel pump as a work-around. Thank you Richard for working through the logistics with me! The volume includes one fill and three smaller top-ups to ensure tadpoles are given the best possible chance to complete their life cycle. This means the pump will stay on site for a 8-12 week period.
Millewa Pumping have the perfect sized pump available and they are currently waiting until the flats are accessible due to the recent rain events. It will take about a week and a half to complete the initial fill.