The grazing of internationally recognised wetlands in the Barmah Forest continues, despite recommendations by DSE for the removal of cattle dating from 2006.
The inability of DSE and the Minister to safeguard these wetlands during the current extreme drought conditions, highlight a management process incapable of meeting the challenges faced on a daily basis by all landholders across the state.
Understandably the cattle congregate on these wetlands, streams and the banks of the Murray River, in search of a “green pick”, and have caused damage that most landholders would not consider inflicting on their properties.
This Living Murray icon site was heralded last year after the successful use of environmental water valued in excess of $20m to rejuvenate the forest, wetlands and bird breeding.
Apart from the bird breeding event, all other benefits to vegetation and wetland health appear to have been sacrificed for the brief benefit of the owners of these 800 cattle.
Landholders across the state who continue to protect the environment by fencing off river and stream frontages, installing confinement areas and face the difficulties of managing stocking rates in very difficult times view the continued damage of this public land as extremely disappointing.
Grazing with-in the Barmah Wetlands should cease until the outcomes of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council inquiry into the management of these public lands are publicly debated and ongoing policy agreed to by the community.