Site inspections on 14 June commenced at the CMA’s Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project where estuarine wetland vegetation improvements associated with the progressive opening of Ironbark Creek floodgates were inspected.
Throsby Creek was next and Hunter Water staff outlined works that are underway to rehabilitate the banks of Throsby Creek, including rock revetment and rehabilitation of old bank protection works. Tighes Hill School students demonstrated Waterwatch testing to monitor the health of the creek and discussed their results with Board members.
Following lunch, the Board inspected bush regeneration works in the Upper Ironbark Creek at New Lambton Heights, followed by erosion control works being implemented by Newcastle City Council at Diane Street, Elermore Vale, to stabilise an urban stream, improve stormwater management and control weeds.
The junction of Blue Wren Creek and Ironbark Creek behind the Elermore Vale shopping centre was the final inspection site where stream bed and bank erosion control works are being constructed and revegetation undertaken by Council, with CMA funding support.
The Board meeting on 15 June began with a presentation and discussion by Judy Jaeger, Director Future City, Newcastle City Council on current natural resource management priorities for Council, including implementation of an asset management based approach including mapping of a suite of natural assets. Council and CMA collaborations were also discussed which include onground projects and the current Catchment Action Plan upgrade.
The Board discussed the Catchment Action Plan upgrade and considered a revised project schedule for submission of the CAP by 1 February 2013 and associated challenges that this slightly reduced timeframe presents. A schedule for upcoming landscape based workshops with community, industry and agency stakeholders to progress the CAP upgrade was developed. The Board discussed a vision for the upgraded CAP and considered the current CAP vision was resilient and suitable for adoption with minor amendment. The Board will next consider goal statements for the CAP.
The Board considered a number of matters for resolution and approved:
· Development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CMA and Hunter Water Corporation to govern collaboration between the two organisations to implement catchment management activities in the Lower Hunter.
· Delivery arrangements for the CMA Education program in 2012/13.
· Components of the 2012/13 CMA Incentives Program including funding benchmarks.
The Board noted:
· The CMA has received $2.4m funding from the Australian Government Biodiversity Fund over 6 years, to be delivered primarily through Incentive Property Vegetation Plans.
· The CMA has received $400,000 of Australian Government funding to identify key environmental assets with a focus on surface and groundwater resources and water dependent ecological assets and the vulnerability of these assets to mining and associated Coal Seam Gas (CSG) activites.
· Delivery of Community education program and media reports since the last Board meeting
· The current Native Vegetation Regulation review process is underway and and public information sessions will be held within the CMA region.
· The CMA’s 2012/13 Annual Investment Program has been submitted including output deliverables and budgets.
· Expenditure against budget up until 31 May 2012 is in line with expectations.
· Assessment of projects received seeking funding under the CMA Partnerships Program 2012-13 has been completed and successful applicants advised.
· Workplace Health and Safety matters are being appropriately managed.
· Land Use planning matters received and responded to by the CMA.
· Ministerials received or requested.
· Written compliments or complaints received.
The next Board meeting is planned for August in the Greater Taree LGA.