It is crucial that the Werribee River Volcanic Gorge be retained in a natural form, it is an important natural habitat for flora and fauna
It is also of major importance as a biodiversity corridor as it;
The success of environmental restoration at Pinkerton Forest & Bush’s Paddock suggests that the same restoration philosophy be adopted for the Werribee River frontage. The over-riding philosophy of restoration is to restore a functioning ecosystem. The aim is to restore the environment where natural regeneration will take place and not to rely simply on planting trees. The objective is to restore all Riverine Environment Vegetation Classes, which will be self sustaining. Rather than create a park-like environment that will require continual maintenance mulching and tidying and continued additional planting.
This should be achieved by:
The restoration works have been greatly assisted by the teachers and students from Mowbray College, led by Ivan Moore and Melton Christian College, led by Ron Fink. Not only have they done the major planting work, but have followed through with watering, mulching, seed collecting and cleaning up assorted rubbish along the river banks and at Exford Reserve. Various community groups have enjoyed a walk along the River Gorge, Friends of Toolern Creek, Werribee River Association, Melton Bushwalking Group and representatives from the Australian Plant Society Melton and Bacchus Marsh Group.
Melbourne Water is continuing works in the Werribee Gorge by supporting Western Water and PLEG in following up on previous rehabilitation works through maintenance and making our way downstream. Concentrating on weeds that impact on the natural environment, encouraging natural regeneration of native species and complimenting works by replacing introduced species with native vegetation based on EVC Stream Bank Shrubland (Ecological Vegetation Class 851).
Melbourne Water continues to offer assistance to landholders in the region with contributions to ongoing weed control and revegetation in areas along waterways through the Stream Frontage Management Program and Community Grants.
The Stream Frontage Management Program is a grants program that supports the rehabilitation of stream frontage on rural land (privately owned or licensed Crown Land). The program supports revegetation, weed control, fencing and off stream stock watering and supports the landholder through all stages of their project including ongoing maintenance. The Community Grants program supports groups who work on waterways through public land for similar biodiversity outcomes.
It is an exciting time for Werribee River restoration in overall health and biodiversity with the announcement of Environmental Flows which will see about 3 billion litres of water returned to the Werribee River. The entitlement will improve the environmental values and health of the Werribee River and its tributaries by legally entitling the river to 10 per cent of the inflows into Lake Merrimu. This is a great outcome for the river which is a centre for social and recreational activities and is recognised as a river of very high regional significance.
River Health Officer, Lower Werribee