The Tasmanian floods of June 2016 caused considerable damage across large areas; lives were lost, homes destroyed, agriculture was impacted through damage to fences and machinery, the loss of top soil, stock and crops, and across the state many roads, bridges and rail lines were damaged or completely destroyed. In many places, huge loads of river gravel have been deposited onto productive paddocks, debris piles have built up on river banks and riparian vegetation has been removed.
While the immediate needs of finding accommodation, getting boundary fences back up and installing temporary access routes has been taken care of, the affected communities will be dealing with the environmental damage for some time to come.
To assist the recovery effort on public and private land and help communities get back on their feet, Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) has formed a partnership with TasNetworks that will allow us to coordinate teams of volunteers to remove debris, replant riparian vegetation and repair fences in affected areas across the state.
TasNetworks operates in every corner of the state, and consequently many TasNetworks team members, their families, friends and communities have themselves been impacted by the floods. That’s why TasNetworks are not only providing funding support for this program, but their staff will be volunteering on some of the projects as well. This is a great example of a corporate-community partnership achieving meaningful results for local people.
To ensure that our efforts are best directed and have the greatest impact, we are working in partnership with the State Government’s Tasmanian Flood Recovery Taskforce, Cradle Coast NRM, NRM North and NRM South. While many areas are still too wet to access, we recently undertook our first two projects, which were both a great success.
During our first project in Quamby Bend, in the states north, CVA volunteers assisted with the removal of debris from existing fences, the dismantling of mangled fences and the re-installation of fence lines; allowing the property owners to finally get their stock fully contained. Recently, the owners of this property cleared several kilometers of willows from the river banks and planted around 1,000 native trees in a massive conservation effort for the region. For our team of dedicated volunteers, it was a great opportunity to help out a family who are already doing so much for their local environment.
Our second project took place in southern Tasmania on a large farming property in Ouse; where within hours of the river rising and flood warnings being issued, this farm was inundated with water on the low lying paddocks. The owners lost over one hundred sheep and were left with large amounts of debris, including river stones strewn across the paddocks. This meant they couldn’t be ploughed ready for this season’s feed crop, so our volunteers rolled up their sleeves and spent two days clearing rocks off the paddock.
Tasmanian Floods – Upcoming Projects
Monday 19th & 26th September – Evandale
Clarendon House is owned by the National Trust, a community based member organsisation responsible for the conservation of some of Tasmania’s finest examples of heritage buildings. Unfortunately, the iconic two-story convict apartment building on the banks of the Sth Esk River was flooded in June, which left mud sludge throughout the ground floor of the building. CVA volunteers will participate under the guidance of a heritage restoration specialist to clean up the mess and restore some of this building.
Thursday 29th—Friday 30th September – Gretna
This property is on the river banks of the River Derwent. The owners have been diligent and committed to cleaning up the river banks and have removed a number of weed species and begun replanting natives in an effort to restore native riparian vegetation; however, the flood waters caused severe and troubling erosion in a number of areas, while washing away some of their newly planted natives. The team will spend the day planting grasses and installing weed matting to prevent future erosion and create more riverbank stability.
As things continue to dry up, we will be adding even more projects to our calendar, so we are seeking volunteers to register their interest in volunteering on CVA’s Tasmanian Flood Recovery Program by emailing our Hobart Office and we will keep you up to date with all the upcoming projects in your region.
Volunteering on a Flood Recovery project is a great way to show your support to communities who have lost a lot and could really benefit from a friendly and enthusiastic team of volunteers to help them get the job done.
Landowners who wish to report damage and request assistance are asked to get in touch with the Tasmanian Flood Recovery Taskforce on 1800 567 567