In 2012, the council licensed most of the public land along Castlemaine’s urban waterways for ‘public purposes’. From that time, our group and Castlemaine Landcare Group worked hard advocating for a better collaborative management approach. This eventuated in all three organisations working together to develop the Castlemaine Urban Waterways Management Plan (2018) funded and adopted by Council, and all three parties signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2020. The Management Plan outlines the shared vision for the future of the urban waterways’ public land and suggests which organisation should take what actions to achieve that by when. The MoU specifies how the collaborative relationship should work.
Apart from having management responsibility on the licensed creek-side public land, as the organisation that has decision making power over land use in the catchment and adjoining the creek, the council is an important stakeholder. Council also manages drainage and stormwater disposal which in Castlemaine appears to have a major detrimental impact on water quality.
Council provided ‘seed’ funding to the group when it started in 2000. This allowed us to get underway with administrative tasks involved in setting up the group.
Lobbying by our group and the McKenzie Hill Action & Landcare Group succeeded in council funding a management plan for Honeycomb Bushland Reserve and all three parties now have an MoU relating to the implementation of the plan and the reserve’s management.
Coliban Water has a large adjoining landholding to the creek-side public land. This is the site of the Castlemaine wastewater treatment plant and also includes the northern part of Honeycomb Bushland Reserve. As Coliban Water controls the quality of the sewage effluent discharged to the creek, it is a major stakeholder in the environmental condition of Campbells Creek.
Coliban Water has supported our group since it started in 2000, when it provided us with substantial funding that allowed us to take restoration activities almost immediately.
We have developed a particularly close relationship with Coliban Water over the management of Honeycomb Bushland Reserve.
DELWP is the part of the government of the colony of Victoria representing the ‘owner’ of the public land (the crown).
DELWP is an important stakeholder because it controls what kind of activities can happen on the public land. DELWP will play a crucial part in reserving the council licensed public land and in resolving encroachments onto the public land and returning them to public use.
Reservation is important to us because it means the public land will be ‘reserved’ for a particular purpose. We hope this will be for public, low impact recreational purposes and nature conservation.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation is an important stakeholder in the management of much public land in our district and has a keen interest in the management of the waterways.
We hope to develop a relationship with the Dja Dja Wurrung based around sharing the management of the public land, especially with burning regimes, growing food plants such as Murnong/Yam Daisy (Microseris walteri) and fibre plants like Lomandra longifolia and Carex tereticaulis.
In collaboration with the Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation we have sought funding to develop “Booladj Kiarp Bolealong”. This aims to restore the area where Forest and Barkers Creeks join and form Campbells Creek to more closely resemble the pre-colonial state and become a celebrated place for Indigenous Bio-cultural knowledge sharing and reconciliation activity.
Our area is just part of the catchment where neighbouring groups are doing great work.
Castlemaine Landcare Group works upstream of our patch along Forest Ck and has made great progress in transforming this part of the urban waterways. We are joint signatories to the 2020 urban waterways Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and sometimes partner in delivering projects.
McKenzie Hill Action and Landcare Group work on land to the West of our patch, and we overlap in the private land known as Honeycomb Bushland Reserve. We are joint signatories to the Honeycomb Bushland Reserve MoU and sometimes partner in delivering projects.
We engage in the local landcare network through Connecting Country, and are planning to extend our relationship downstream with Guildford & Upper Loddon Landcare.
One of the joys of our work involves children exploring, enjoying and improving their local environment.
Fortunately we have three local schools and two kindergartens operating close to the Creek who use it regularly for activities.
We collaborate with Campbells Creek and Winters Flat Primary Schools, Olivet Christian College, Castlemaine Childcare (Carinya), and NIDO Early School on projects and activities like exploring their creek, water bugs, growing plants from seed, planting, and erecting nesting boxes.