|A crowd of around 50 people gathered at ‘The Ranch’ reserve just outside Dimboola yesterday morning to mark the beginning of the return of water to the billabong.
The site is of significance to the Wotjobaluk people and this return of water is part of larger plans to rehabilitate the site.
Up to 20 megalitres of water will be pumped from the Wimmera River into the billabong, and environmental changes in the reserve will be monitored to inform future management of the site. The water has been secured through an environmental water program and a partnership between various agencies including Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Wimmera CMA, and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.
Stuart Harradine, Water Officer at Barengi Gadjin Land Council and a Wotjobaluk Traditional Owner, is excited about the return of water to the billabong.
“Restoration of the billabong has been something our community has been keen to see for many years,” Stuart said.
“Barengi Gadjin Land Council has received funding to help achieve some of its goals for the site such as restoring native plant and animal habitats, and having water is a key part of this.”
Representatives of the agencies involved were present on Friday morning to witness this significant milestone in the project.
The Ranch Billabong area has been home to many generations of Wotjobaluk people, long before European settlement and increasingly after Ebenezer Mission at Antwerp closed. The cultural connection to the site remains and the land was sold to Barengi Gadjin Land Council in 2005. Plans for its management are included in the Growing What is Good Country Plan, Voices of the Wotjobaluk Nations.
You can read more about the project at Water to return to The Ranch Billabong.