Putting the Fish back in Fish Creek
Published: 3 June 2024

Putting the Fish back in Fish Creek

Five years after embarking on an ambitious catchment-wide restoration plan, Fish Creek Landcare Group are reaping the rewards of their hard work. 

The Fish Creek Catchment Project began back in 2018 when local Landcare members felt that a more collaborative approach was needed to help improve the health of the entire catchment. An idea formed to develop a detailed plan that would give volunteers direction, focus and funding support for years to come. 

To bring this plan to life, Fish Creek Landcare Group sought support from South Gippsland Landcare Network who helped them run a series of community workshops to collect inspiration and ideas, and develop them into key elements, guiding principles and strategic steps. 

“This project brought so much enthusiasm to the table”, said Landcare member Joan Liley, who’s been living and farming in Fish Creek for over 50 years and has a background in natural resource management. “Even people who don’t own land have had the opportunity to give back to the environment in their own capacity.” 

Partnerships also played a key role. The group engaged with a range of stakeholders including Traditional Owners, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Greening Australia, South Gippsland Shire Council, local schools, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, South Gippsland Water, GippsDairy and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

Five years later this active, dynamic Landcare group are seeing the benefits of their long-term, big picture planning.

They’ve successfully applied for Victorian Landcare Grants three years running, which has enabled the restoration of nearly all the riparian zones along the northern catchment between Fish Creek township and South Gippsland Highway. Efforts will now shift to weeding, planting and fencing along the southern catchment from Fish Creek down to Buffalo-Waratah Road.  

Reflecting on the group’s achievements, Joan says the community collaboration has been amazing. “I’ve loved being a part of a project that the Fish Creek community are proud of”, she said. 

Joan’s advice for other Landcare groups: “Have a plan, know your funding sources and use your partnerships and knowledge of strategic documents to apply for funding year after year.” 

Discover more about Landcare in West Gippsland