Rainbow Creek information night soon

AFTER more than 12 months of work, residents are invited to view proposed works on the Thomson River and Rainbow Creek near Cowwarr.

West Gippsland Management Authority chief executive Martin Fuller said the authority had been talking and listening to a range of stakeholders including landholders, Southern Rural Water, Wellington Shire and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, to come up with the management plan.

"Our goal here is to reduce the impact on farming businesses and other landholders when a flood occurs in this catchment," he said.

"The Rainbow Creek is a relatively new waterway, having only formed in the 1950s when a major flood occurred.

"When the Rainbow, in effect, broke away from the Thomson, it caused major problems for landholders.

"This plan aims to reduce the risk of another break-away, or avulsion, occurring."

The WGCMA has been working with interested parties since December 2018 regarding the Thomson and Rainbow systems.

This has included community forums and regular meetings with a project working group consisting of several local landholders and other entities, as well as several one-on-one meetings to get as much input as possible into the management plan.

WGCMA waterways project officer David Stork said community engagement had provided local intelligence and perspectives that had helped shape the plan.

"We had a bunch of people talking to us, some of whom had lived their whole lives with these waterways," he said.

"So that sort of knowledge was invaluable for us to get a clear picture of people's experiences."

The management plan features several possible works to reduce the risk of either the Thomson or Rainbow once again changing course.

"There are a number of things we can do, ranging from fencing the waterway and planting trees to stabilise the river bank, to management of in-stream blockages along the course of the river to provide environments for aquatic life, but also reduce the risk of another avulsion in any future flood," Mr Stork said.

A community information night will be held on Monday, February 24, from 7pm at the Cowwarr Public Hall.

A light supper will be served.

Those intending to go along should RS VP by February 20 via email to westgippy@wgcma.vic.gov. au, or phone 1300 094 262.

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