Today the Murray River Red Gum Trail Community Steering Group celebrated the receipt of a feasibility report detailing plans for five river bridges on the Murray. This much-anticipated report brings the Murray River Adventure Trail, Albury-Wodonga to Lake Hume section infrastructure plans to ‘shovel ready’.
The feasibility study has been part of a broader project supported by Emergency Management Victoria’s Risk and Resilience fund. The project focused on future-proofing the Murray River Adventure Trail and Wodonga Regional Parks by adaptive design for floodplain park infrastructure, strategic plantings to slow storm-water run-off onto floodplains and building a network of proactive community park stewards capable of responding to natural disaster events.
The project also established a seedbank orchard of climate adapted native trees, shrubs and ground layer species, seed from which will support climate change adaptation revegetation programs into the future.
Despite the incredibly wet conditions this year, the project has reached all milestones and has even benefitted from the rain. With engineering consultants on the ground both before and during the recent floods, the infrastructure assessments were done with resilience ‘front of mind’, ensuring flood conditions are well and truly incorporated in planning suitable structures at each site.
The seedbank of climate adapted natives – local native species grown from seed produced by parent plants in hotter, drier areas in NSW – has been planted and is growing well. Dodging – and sometimes caught by – the frequent rain events, community plantings and river stewardship working bees managed to plant and guard 16,000 climate adapted seedlings on Murray River floodplains. Many of these were subsequently flooded but have now re-emerged and will thrive in the perfect growing conditions.
Stewardship events engaging community members with the nature of our waterways were so well received that the original fourteen planned events extended to 23 events involving more than 500 people. Habitat Walk and Talks, Spotlighting Night Walks, Seed Collecting and Hidden in Plain Sight Walks extended local understanding of the riverine treasures we have on our doorstep, and participants are eager for more.
Parklands thank the community for continuing the impetus to bring our local section the Murray River Adventure Trail to fruition. The building blocks for a complete public walking trail on the Murray from Albury-Wodonga to the Weir wall are now in place. Future funding opportunities will decide how soon the trail can become a reality.
This project is supported by the Victorian Government.