Murray River Park
Dotted between major national parks along the Murray River lies a series of small reserves collectively known as the Murray River Park.
They were created to form a link between larger protected areas stretching from near the South Australian border across to the Hattah-Kulkyne, Gunbower, Barmah and Warby Range-Ovens River national parks.
These small reserves are part of the network of parks we battled so long to create and which should now protect much of the Murray's River Red Gum wetlands and forests.
But they're not properly protected yet, not while cattle are allowed in to pollute water, trample sensitive wetlands and generally make a mess.
Why are these reserves so important?
The Murray River Park, made up of a string of smaller pieces of public land along the river, adds up to over 20,000 hectares - that's equivalent to about 10,000 MCGs!
The park was intended to:
- Create an almost continuous ecological connection between major national parks.
- Provide a significant natural attraction for camping, boating and recreation in a natural river environment.
- Protect an outstanding scenic landscape for river users.
- Protect parts of the flood plain and river frontage, important to many native species.
- Protect important historical sites and sites of cultural significance to Traditional Owners.
These reserves have the potential to provide a coherent, cattle-free wildlife corridor to improve the quality of water run-off into the Murray River.
Before the 2010 state election the Brumby Labor Government was on the verge of protecting these reserves as part of the historic River Red Gum parks package. They were even legislated and handed over to Parks Victoria for management, but were not formally gazetted or declared before that government lost power.
Parks Victoria was also part way through phasing out cattle grazing when the incoming Coalition Government reversed the process of phasing out grazing licences and then re-issued over 200 grazing licences.
As a result, the cows went back in. And so far, they're still there.
Parks Victoria continues to manage the area designated as Murray River Park, even though it is not part of Victoria's parks system and they no longer have any recurrent funding for management of these areas.
What needs to happen
- The Murray River Park needs to be formalised under th Crown land Reserves Act (see Section 47B and 63). This option requires a government gazettal, which in turn requires a review of the official reserve maps and the phasing out of grazing as licences expire.
- Parks Victoria needs at least $5m extra funding each year to manage the Murray River Park.
Please send Victoria's environment minister Lily D'Ambrosio an email asking her to finish what her party started by protecting the Murray River Park from damaging cattle grazing.