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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

26 September 2002

NSW gets $5.6 m for Salinity and Water Quality Plans

NSW will receive $5.6 million to address priority salinity and water quality issues in its nine inland priority regions, Federal Ministers for Agriculture Warren Truss and Environment Dr David Kemp, and State Premier Bob Carr announced today.

This is the first allocation of funding from the pool of $396 million the NSW and Federal governments have agreed to provide under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) over the next five years.

Each of the NSW regions will receive funding to support the priority actions they have put forward.

Another three Statewide initiatives would contribute to salinity and water quality outcomes across all NAP regions, the Premier and Ministers said.

They said the activities to be funded were a mix of on-ground works, investigations and capacity-building activities.

The Murrumbidgee Catchment, for example, will receive $511,900 over two years for targeted on-ground works to reduce salt loads entering the Murrumbidgee River via the Kyeamba Creek, near Wagga Wagga. The activities are expected to lead to a reduction of about 2,600 tonnes a year in salt loads.

The Gwydir Catchment will receive $502,500 over two years to establish a strategic network of groundwater monitoring bores to provide baseline groundwater-level and salinity data to target and monitor salinity management activities in the region.

The Premier and Ministers said the Catchment Management Boards’ catchment blueprints were still to be accredited.

“We believe it is vital to begin funding priority works identified by the CMBs, unencumbered by the accreditation process,” they said.

More project examples, with contact details, are attached.

Media contacts:
Mr Truss’s office: Tim Langmead (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433
Dr Kemp’s office: Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Mr Aquilina’s office: Kimberley Ramplin (02) 9228 4700 or 0401 710 679

NSW projects in the first NAP funding round

The Murray Catchment Blueprint identifies the South West Slopes management unit as its highest priority for salinity actions. However, to optimise future investments in on-ground works, the region wants to identify the landscape units contributing the most to salt exports from the catchment and where, in the landscapes, specific management measures are most likely to succeed. The Murray Catchment project ($619,000 over two years) will assist initially in the production of all land-related datasets at a scale of 1:25,000 so they are compatible with existing slope and terrain datasets. The project will enhance satellite imagery for the area to assist in targeting future investments. Year Two involves action on the ground in priority locations within the South West Slopes management unit.
Contact: Tony Dawson, DLWC Albury, 02 6043 0102 or 0419 992 505

The Murrumbidgee Catchment’s Priority Action ($511,900 over two years) aims to reduce salt loads entering the Murrumbidgee River via the Kyeamba Creek through targeted on-ground works. The works will: reduce salt exports from 51 hectares of saline-discharge sites through revegetation with salt-tolerant species; reduce the amount of water reaching the groundwater using 80 hectares of targeted tree planting and fencing; and fence and revegetate 300 hectares of sediment-yielding tributaries to Kyeamba Creek. In addition, landholders will plant 1,500 hectares of perennial pasture to help manage accessions to the groundwater.
Contact: Greg Bugden, DLWC Wagga, 02 6923 0473 or 0429 125 350

The Lower Murray Darling Catchment’s Priority Action ($349,170 over two years) will affect the environmental-flows component of the draft Darling Anabranch Management Plan. It provides for the design and construction of a higher capacity water flow regulator at Packer’s Crossing and obtaining information to support surface and groundwater hydrology modelling to design the criteria for managing environmental flows. Outcomes will be an improvement in salinity and water quality, including a reduced incidence of blue-green algae in the Anabranch. Native fish species are likely to benefit. The measures could also help control pest species, like European carp and cumbungi.
Contact: Bill Tatnell, DLWC Buronga, 03 5021 9404 or 0417 063 956

The Namoi Catchment’s Priority Action ($280,000 over two years) focuses initially on identifying targets for riparian rehabilitation works in the Namoi catchment to obtain the best value for money. It will identify stream reaches that are still in relatively good condition and can readily be rehabilitated. Descriptive observations will be made of the condition and type of riparian vegetation, and water samples taken and tested for salinity. A program of river rehabilitation works at the end of the survey will be based on the results.
Contact: Tony Page, DLWC Tamworth, 02 6764 5915

The Border Rivers Catchment’s Priority Action ($495,000 over two years) will provide new, and consolidate existing, information on the groundwater flow systems in the NSW Border Rivers Region. The project will deliver benchmark mapping of salinity-discharge sites, drilling and data assessment from 50 new bores. It will assess the groundwater flow systems causing saline discharge, as well as groundwater-flow systems with the potential to cause salinity. The next step is to draw up a priority list of areas for mitigation works. The project will also improve the capacity for evaluation of mitigation strategies.
Contact: Patric Millar, DLWC Glen Innes, 02 6732 5901

The Gwydir Catchment’s Priority Action ($502,500 over two years) will establish a strategic network of groundwater monitoring bores. The network will provide baseline groundwater-level and salinity data to target salinity management actions in the region and monitor the effectiveness of management options. Groundwater-level and salinity information for large areas of the Gwydir Catchment is lacking because there are only 13 bores in the region providing useful groundwater salinity data. The project will install 75 monitoring bores at strategic sites to provide information on depth-to-watertable, shallow aquifer behaviour, water-quality data and geology. It will be integrated with the Priority Action proposed for the adjacent Border Rivers Catchment so information on groundwater-flow systems operating across regional borders is understood.
Contact: Rodney O’Brien, DLWC Moree, 02 6752 2755

The Central West Catchment’s Priority Action ($429,000 over two years) will bring together key existing data sets on geology, topography and land use in the upper Cudgegong and Macquarie River valleys above Burrendong Dam. It will also collect new information on areas of land salinisation, stream salt loads and groundwater-level changes, to develop models of catchment behaviour. In consultation with the community, acceptable land management options will be assessed to determine their likely impact on the salinity problem. The analyses will help determine catchment priorities and provide information for a range of predictions about catchment responses.
Contact: Paul Wettin, DLWC Orange, 02 6393 4350

The Lachlan Catchment’s Priority Action ($300,000 over two years) will establish a strategic network of groundwater monitoring bores. The network of bores will provide baseline groundwater-level and salinity data to quantify trends in dryland salinity in the region and monitor the effectiveness of management options. Studies have revealed a serious lack of groundwater-level and salinity information for large areas of the Lachlan Catchment. The project will undertake geophysical surveys to identify bore sites and will fund drilling operations. The cost of monitoring and long-term maintenance of the bores will come from existing NSW programs.
Contact: Paul Wettin, DLWC Orange, 02 6393 4350

The Western Catchment’s Priority Action ($352,636 over two years) seeks to demonstrate that livestock can be enticed to stop accessing the river to drink through the strategic use of stock watering points. The benefits include less nutrient input to the river and less bank erosion. The project will also show the benefits of piping existing bore drains that flow to the river system, contributing salt and nutrients.
Contact: Alan McGufficke, DLWC Condobolin, 02 6895 1106

NSW Agriculture’s Priority Action ($1,218,200 over two years) provides for five economists, as part of Salt Action Teams, to work with the Catchment Management Boards. They will examine the economic benefits and costs of implementing catchment blueprints, and provide advice about the most cost-effective actions to minimise the impact of salinity. Provision exists within the project for social scientists in short-term consultancies to undertake specific tasks of strategic importance, such as identifying social constraints to change.
Contact: Nick Austin, NSW Agriculture, Orange, 02 6391 3185

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s Priority Action ($412,000 over two years) will develop a toolkit to rapidly assess the biodiversity benefits likely to accrue from protecting remnant vegetation, or through revegetation, for the purposes of salinity management. This information is important to underpin some of the stewardship programs and other market-based approaches to salinity management under consideration through the NSW State Salinity Strategy and the NAP. The project will draw on input from a range of expert stakeholders to develop the assessment framework. The toolkit will be tested with potential end users, who will receive training.
Contact: Sue Briggs, CSIRO, 02 6242 1621

NSW State Forests’ Priority Action ($152,530 over one year) will monitor a new plantation in the Yahoo Peaks sub-catchment of the Little River catchment in Central West NSW to: identify its impacts on salt and water balances within, and adjacent to, the plantation; quantify the plantation’s impacts on water yield and quality, and; demonstrate the plantation’s benefits for recharge management and gully control. The results will be extrapolated to other catchments. The data will be used to provide models, which are being developed, with information to identify the contribution of land-use change in meeting end-of-valley salinity targets.
Contact: Alistair Grieve, NSW State Forests, 02 9980 4269

Commonwealth of Australia