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Walking the Landscape | Oceanwatch Australia

OceanWatch has been working to increase community capacity and capability for bushfire resilience in five affected catchments on the NSW South Coast.

This project is aimed at aiding the recovery of communities in the South Coast of NSW affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires, by offering the opportunity to participate in a “Walking the Landscape – Bushfire Resilience” tour. These tours have taken community members on a journey of connection to local waterways, by visiting local estuaries and rivers that have suffered or are still suffering from bushfire impacts. The tours have brought together people with different backgrounds, so that they could connect over their recovery experience, while learning more about impacts of bushfires to aquatic environments, as well as practices one can employ to minimise these impacts. A participant in one of our tours has gone home with an increased knowledge and understanding of local aquatic ecology, bushfire-caused changes to these environments, recovery measures that can be used to minimise negative impacts of bushfires to aquatics, as well as an expanded local network. Three tours have run from early 2022 along each of the Clyde, Tuross, Bega, and Towamba rivers. In early August 2022, the last three tours will take place along the Shoalhaven River.
Please find information on how the past tours went below, and feel free to reach out if you are interested in collaborating or participating in future ones.

THE CLYDE TOURS (30th-31st MARCH, 1st APRIL)

THE TUROSS TOURS (27th-28th-29th APRIL)

The Tuross Catchment tours have seen the participation of the local RFS brigade who kindly gave us an introduction to the 2019-20 bushfire fight at their local fire shed in Bodalla. We then had Eurobodalla Shire Council officers explain how the catchment flora and fauna were impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires and how they have been working on making sure the bush and our waterways recover as quickly as possible. We also had the pleasure to visit a local oyster farmer’s shed, where we learnt about oyster farming and how the local businesses were impacted by the fires and subsequent floods. Very importantly, we enjoyed a lovely lunch by the Bodalla Bakery at the Nerrigundah Community Centre!
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THE BEGA TOURS (24th-25th-26th MAY)

THE TOWAMBA TOURS (28th-29th-30th JUNE)

The Towamba Catchment tours were blessed by amazing weather, despite the winter temperatures. We were lucky enough to have another fantastic introduction by local RFS officers to the 2019-20 bushfire fight in this area, and how the fire moved through the landscape. We also had two environmental officers from the Bega Valley Shire Council showing us photos of impacts of bushfires to riparian vegetation and local bushland, as well as explaining what Council has been doing to help those areas recover. We then hopped on the Cat Balou boat, a local business that took us into the stunning Twofold Bay where we could appreciate the still very visible bushfire impacts to the coastline. After hearing and sharing personal stories about the experiences lived during the Black Summer, and spending some time with the local dolphins, we travelled to Lake Pambula, where Captain Sponge took us on his oyster punt and told us about oyster farming in the area and what the bushfires of 2019-20 did to the local water quality, oysters, and businesses. We talked about impacts, resilience, and recovery of wildlife and local communities alike. Three fantastic tours!
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THE SHOALHAVEN TOURS (16th-17th-18th AUGUST)

Watch this space!
This is a Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Although funding for this product has been provided by both the Australian and NSW Governments, the material contained herein does not necessarily represent the views of either government.
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