JournalLandcare & Biodiversity Walk: Werribee River Exford, Sunday 26th May

Landcare & Biodiversity Walk: Werribee River Exford, Sunday 26th May


The environmental restoration project is part of a continued strategic management plan applied to the Werribee River Volcanic Gorge which commenced in December 2004. As such, it could be the longest stretch of river (3 km) restored in the region involving a community group in partnership with government agencies.

The event took the form of a walk along the picturesque Werribee River, in its spectacular setting in its volcanic gorge, with basalt escarpments towering above. Along the way the visitors were given a series of short presentations by Melbourne Water, weed control contractors (Western Land Services) and Landcare members .

The visitors were welcomed by Western Water’s Environmental Engineer William Rajendram who gave a brief history of Western Water and the treatment plant at Surbiton Park. William described how the 400 hectare property not only served as a sewage treatment plant put also described how Western Water is pro-active in protecting and enhancing the various sites of environmental importance on the property.

A flock of 160 sheep grazing in the valley graphically illustrated how grazing can be used as a legitimate means of weed control if used strategically (as well as providing useful livestock fodder). Environmentally sensitive land management need not necessarily exclude grazing activities!


Presentations included:

  • A discussion of Plains Grassland restoration by local Parwan landholder and Landcare member Simon Jolly
  • A presentation by Alanna Wright of Melbourne Water, discussing Melbourne Water’s partnership role, along with Western Water and PLEG, in restoration of the Werribee River streamside
  • Various methods of noxious weed and rabbit control were discussed by Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Group’s Restoration Co-ordinator Frances Overmars and Mark Hynde and Steve Hammond of land management contractors Western Land Services.
  • A discussion by Daryl Akers of the ongoing monitoring of flora and fauna along the river, and a brief discussion of the rich diversity of local wildlife, especially birdlife
  • A detailed discussion by Melbourne Water’s Mark Coffey about natural regeneration of local plant species
  • Aboriginal heritage was discussed by Glenn Clapton, who spoke of the the Aboriginal people who have lived here for many thousands of years. He told how the Werribee River was the border between the Wathaurung people who lived to the west of the river and the Wurunjeri people to the east of the river.

The large contingent of visitors was treated to a morning tea provided by Western Water beside the river, with the magnificent backdrop of ancient Red Gums and Blue Box trees framed within the volcanic gorge with its basalt escarpments towering above. It would be hard to pick a more spectacular setting for morning tea by the river!

The walk was a great success in showcasing the massive environmental works done several kilometres of the Werribee River by a partnership of Western Water, Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Group, Vision for Werribee Plains and Melbourne Water; with the assistance of various environmental contractors.