All on-board for Tarwin Project 

A flotilla of kayakers, all wearing ‘I love the Tarwin’ t-shirts, explored the lower reaches of South Gippsland’s largest river system last week. 

The event was organised by Tarwin Landcare Group (TLG) and the South Gippsland Landcare Network (SGLN) to demonstrate enthusiasm for a community-led ‘hills to ocean’ project to improve the health of the Tarwin River. 

Invitations sent to each of SGLN groups within the extensive Tarwin River Catchment were quickly snapped up. Members from the Allambee South, Ararwata, Fish Creek, Nerrena Tarwin Valley, Mardan Mirboo North and Tarwin Landcare Groups, Hallston Regenerative Agriculture Group, Prom Coast Ecolink and Friends of Turtons Creek attended, along with representatives from the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA), South Gippsland Shire Council and Marinus Link. Six black swans were also present for much of the journey!

The trip began at a cattle farm at Middle Tarwin and finished 10km downstream at Tarwin Lower, with the calm conditions making paddling and conversation very easy. Some paddlers recalled growing up on nearby farms and swimming, fishing or waterskiing on the Tarwin, while others shared more recent experiences of kayaking, bushwalking and birdwatching. Several spoke about the work they are doing to restore land along the many creeks and gullies that make up the Tarwin Catchment.

Many of the paddlers continued their “I love the Tarwin” conversations over lunch at the River Hotel and discussed what they could do to address erosion, habitat loss and poor water quality in and around the Tarwin and its tributaries. 

Organisers Jenny O’Sullivan and Jillian Staton encouraged participants to consider applying for Victorian Landcare Grants to carry out smaller projects. In the meantime, TLG and SGLN will continue to explore opportunities to develop and implement a whole-of-catchment ‘Tarwin Project’ with a range of partners, notably the WGCMA.

TLG and SGLN are grateful to WGCMA which funded the trip, Matt Renshaw and his crew for providing kayaks and guiding, and the South Gippsland Walking and Adventure Club which provided additional support to participants, some of whom had not kayaked before.

If you have an idea for an I Love the Tarwin Project, contact your Landcare Facilitator (Eastern Sector: Nick Stephens, Western Sector: Jane Mckenzie-Smith or SGLN Chair, Jillian Staton:

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