Molonglo River Rescue

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Action Plan


The Molonglo Catchment Group facilitated a partnership between ACT NRM Council; ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands; ACT Research and Planning Unit; Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority; Canberra Investment Corporation; Greening Australia Capital Region; ACT Waterwatch; and RiverSmart Australia in a project supported by the Australian Government's Caring For Our Country program to improve the critical aquatic habitat of the Molonglo River, which is a natural icon in the ACT and south eastern NSW.  The project partnership aims to limit the threats to this ecosystem with a two pronged approach:

  • develop an action plan for riparian restoration and on-going management that will enable strategic and coordinated restoration and protection of a critical aquatic habitat involving all land managers and stakeholders in both NSW and the ACT. This will involve close liaison with planning authorities and the development of partnership opportunities including co-investment; and
  • increase the biodiversity of the riparian zone through a pilot restoration project that will showcase a coordinated approach to riparian restoration across state government jurisdictions and involving multiple stakeholders. The pilot will also showcase a successful partnership involving co-investment between private industry (land developers), government and community.

The project undertakes a pilot restoration of 20km of the River corridor and restoration of strategic drainage channels identified as having a high impact on the water quality of the river. The pilot will be located between Carwoola, NSW and Fyshwick, ACT and will connect with recent riparian restoration in the Molonglo Gorge on the ACT/NSW border. The pilot showcases the model of strategic coordination between land managers, including the co-investment and partnership of the Canberra Investment Corporation (land developers). Stage 1 of the pilot will address key works that have been identified as being of high priority and most strategic by all land managers in the pilot location.

The river restoration works undertaken for stage 1 of the pilot include:

  • control of 7km of willows using a variety of techniques dependant on the density of the infestation, river access and proximity of the site to infrastructure. Sites that are in close proximity to infrastructure will require wood to be moved off-site, while more remote sites will enable wood to be cut and stockpiled or left in situ;
  • control of 20km of blackberries in the ACT;
  • 20km of fencing along the river corridor to restrict access of stock to the river. This will reduce bank erosion, improve water quality and improve the condition of stock;
  • provision of alternate stock watering to enable sustainable use of the river as a water source for stock while ensuring water quality is not affected;
  • planting of provenance native plants by volunteers along the river corridor to enhance the riparian biodiversity of the area and ensure new and emerging weeds are shaded out;
  • construction of a wetland in a strategic location on a significant degraded drainage channel. This channel is currently suspected to be having an impact on the water quality of the river due to the location of a disused abattoir. This wetland will also be used to ensure new land development in the area does not impact adversely on the river; and
  • planting of the wetland by volunteers with appropriate native species to provide suitable habitat. The wetland will be designed to enhance the existing threatened Yellow Box–Red Gum Grassy Woodland.

The pilot restoration project will include a strategic and comprehensive monitoring program that will continue as an on-going monitoring program in perpetuity.

The Action Plan developed as part of this project, was launched at Molonglo Reach on 29 June, 2010.  It is available on CD from the MCG Office or can be downloaded ( 7.10MB)


Willow control work on leasehold land beside the Molonglo River from below Yass Road, on 24 July 2009 The same section of river, but looking upstream to Yass Rd, prior to willow control work, on 19 December 2008 (Photo: Freeswimmers for MCG).
MCG Committee and CIC staff and consultants view the site of the proposed wetland at Beard. Students from Ainslie Public School learn about the Molonglo River From Waterwatch Coordinator, Dr Stephen Skinner at the launch of the Action Plan
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Last modified: 27/03/2014