Irymple dried fruit grower and Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) committee member Owen Lloyd, has been recognised for his contribution to the Mallee region.
Recognition came during a celebration marking 20 years of integrated catchment management, at the Queen’s Hall in the Parliament of Victoria last week.
Chair of the Mallee CMA, Sharyon Peart and CEO Jenny Collins, were delighted to see Mr. Lloyd presented with the Award by Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Water Anthony Carbines MP, saying his award was richly deserved.
“Owen has been committed to supporting the work of the CMA from the very outset.
“He has generously given us the benefit of his time, knowledge and experience and the region is undoubtedly better off for it,” Ms. Collins said.
Clearly a popular choice for the award, Mr. Lloyd was humble in his acceptance, saying he was surprised by the recognition and very proud of the Mallee CMA’s many achievements over the last 20 years.
“The event brought back memories of all the good people I’ve worked with over the years – they deserve acknowledgement too.
“Together we’ve worked to find solutions to problems we knew were there and we figured out what worked and what didn’t with guidance and advice from people within government.
“I love going and looking at the country around our creeks and rivers – it’s no hardship to go out there.
“The longer you do it, the more appreciation you have for the natural beauty of the bush in northwest Victoria,” he said.
Ms. Peart said Mr. Lloyd has been an active committee member, advising the CMA on numerous issues since the organisation’s inception, leading the way in community-agency collaboration.
“Owen quietly contributes so much to our region, never seeking attention, driven purely by the desire to see the Mallee prosper.
“His incredible knowledge of the region’s history and the environment is only matched by his passion to ensure that the region is protected so that generations to come can enjoy life in the Mallee just as he has,” Ms Peart said.
Now in his late 70s, Mr. Lloyd clearly has no intention of slowing down and his commitment to supporting the work of the CMA is as strong as ever.
Sharing the Benefits
In other news, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority has a significant watering event planned from July in the Ramsar listed Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.
Mallee CMA Chair, Sharyon Peart said that the floodplain to be targeted has not received flood water for over 30 years and is showing signs of distress.
“Black box trees are found in the further reaches of the Hattah floodplain and they provide a habitat critical to the survival of many birds, bats and reptiles.
“Recent monitoring of the trees in this area has shown that they are in very poor condition and this has significant implications for the ecosystem that they’re central to,” she said.
According to the Mallee CMA’s General Manager of Operations and Community, James Kellerman, Black box need flooding every three to seven years to remain healthy and whilst trees closer to the lakes benefited from flooding in 2015-16, the floodplains further from the lakes haven’t seen flooding since the late 1970s.
“Over the four months from July, we’ll pump water into all of the Hattah Lakes and the associated floodplains, meaning more Black box communities will receive water.
“This also means that areas closer to the lakes, which received water during the 2016 floods, will benefit from a second year of watering, further improving their seedling survival.”
Mr. Kellerman said that much of the water used will be returned to the Murray River in November, allowing fish and aquatic insects to move from the Hattah Lakes into the river, which will be music to the ears of the region’s anglers.
“At the end of the day, we depend on a healthy environment.
“If we lose these Black box communities, we will all feel the impact.”
Over the last several years, the Hattah Lakes have been the focus of much restoration, to help secure a sustainable future for the iconic wetland.
The water for Hattah is being contributed jointly by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and The Living Murray, in their ongoing commitment to supporting the restoration of unique environmental assets, such as the Hattah wetland and floodplain.
The watering will be co-ordinated by the Mallee CMA in partnership with Parks Victoria and is funded by the Mallee CMA through The Living Murray initiative.
During the watering, access to the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park may be effected and people should contact the Land Managers, Parks Victoria, for updated information prior to visiting the area.