Booberoi Creek users work to protect creek

Booberoi users make the most of environmental flows

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Cecil Ellis training Booberoi Creek landholders Dennis, Cameron and Sue Stewart, assisted by LLS' Andrea and Grant Cashmere. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

Cecil Ellis training Booberoi Creek landholders Dennis, Cameron and Sue Stewart, assisted by LLS' Andrea and Grant Cashmere. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

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Making the most of environmental flows.

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There has not been a lot of good news coming out of the state's water systems of late but in a corner of the Central West the water users of the Booberoi Creek are quietly working to change that.

Farmers who hold stock and domestic water rights on the creek, an anabranch of the Lachlan River near Lake Cargelligo, have come together with government representatives, ecologists and aboriginal elders to help protect the waterway.

The group, organised by Joanne Lenehan of the NSW Department Planning, Industry and Environment,(DPIE) met this week to carry out two days of water quality, bird life and fish monitoring along with cultural site identification.

Booberoi Creek Chairman, Mark Kearines said the creek was the main artery that allowed their properties to survive.

"For most landholders on the creek, it is our main water source," Mr Kearines said.

"Through our collaboration with the DPIE we've realised it's also important to recognise all stakeholders - landholders, cultural and ecological values and we need to nurture a healthy relationship between ourselves as well as water departments in order to care for the health of the creek".

DPIE fish biologist Rex Conallin and Nature Navigation's Cecil Ellis examining a long-necked turtle found in Booberoi Creek. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

DPIE fish biologist Rex Conallin and Nature Navigation's Cecil Ellis examining a long-necked turtle found in Booberoi Creek. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

Hilton Taylor of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office said there was currently a flow going down the Booberoi Creek.

"There will be about four gigalitres that will go through the creek this water year, around two thirds of that water is from the commonwealth and one third is from the state," Mr Taylor said.

"The water that goes through is primarily for environmental purposes but it can help to meet stock and domestic needs, helping reduce the need for additional flows to be provided later."

Catfish found in Booberoi 

Aquatic ecologist and Lake Cargelligo local, Adam Kerezsy is part of the group and said they were finding catfish in Booberoi Creek, an endangered population in the Murray Darling Basin.

"I'm finding all the native species you would expect to be there, they're still there and with a bit of water they will go ok," Mr Kerezsy said.

"You can look at all the doom and gloom but there's some pretty good things happening too.

"It's a good case study in how you might run a catchment with community involvement.

"Everybody is really interested now, the landholders want to know what's going on in the creek."

Dennis and Sue Stewart's property Booberoi Station has 45km of Booberoi Creek frontage.

Landholders inspect a long-necked turtle from Booberoi Creek. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

Landholders inspect a long-necked turtle from Booberoi Creek. Photo by Mal Carnegie, Lake Cowal Foundation.

Mr Stewart, a cattle farmer and member of the Booberoi Creek group, said leaving a legacy was important to him.

"I would like to leave the land better than we found it," Mr Stewart said.

"I'm an environmentalist and a commercial farmer, you can be both."

Mr Stewart said they were working on setting up pipelines and troughs so they could fence off their section of the creek to stop stock access and help preserve the vegetation, birds and fish life.

Ngiyampaa involvement 

Ngiyampaa Elder, Peter Harris has also been heavily involved with the group, helping to protect heritage sites along the creek.

"I grew up on Booberoi Creek, we used to go out there when we were kids, there's many significant cultural heritage sites right through there," Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said he was encouraging and supporting young people in the aboriginal community to be involved with the project too, monitoring the creek part of their work-for-the-dole program.

He said for him it didn't matter if the water flows coming down the creek was designated as cultural or environmental.

"I don't mind what type of water it is, I don't mind where it goes, as long as it flows through my country," Mr Harris said.

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