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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Our Region

Our Region

The Wimmera catchment boundary is located in western Victoria and covers an area of approximately 30,000km2 or 10% of Victoria. The Wimmera extends from the Grampians National Park to Lake Albacutya, near Rainbow, and from the South Australian border in the west to Navarre in the east. It includes the Wimmera River catchment and the eastern part of the Millicent Coast Basin. The Wimmera River is the largest Victorian river that does not flow to the sea, but instead flows into a series of terminal lakes. The largest of these terminal lakes are Lake Hindmarsh and Lake Albacutya.

 Wimmera CMA MapThe Wimmera catchment

The landscape is highly modified and is dominated by agriculture land use (84%). Today approximately a quarter of all residents, rely directly upon agriculture for their income. The best soils for agricultural productivity exist on privately owned farms with the national parks and reserves generally containing less productive soils. Most of the vegetation that once covered the landscape is now rare or endangered and contained to national parks, reserves, and state forests such as The Grampians and Little Desert National Parks, Black Range State Forest, Mt Arapiles–Tooan State Parks and the Pyrenees Range.

Strips of riparian vegetation, along waterways, connect these parks particularly in and around the Grampians and Pyrenees. The Wimmera also contains 25% of Victoria’s wetlands, which are predominantly in the South-west. In the West Wimmera Shire there is good connectivity of native vegetation due to the combination of wetlands in the swales on the adjacent dunes.

Ecological vegetation is diverse and ranges from mountains and plains to desert; from moist foothill forest to Box–Ironbark Forest, Buloke Woodland, grasslands, wetlands, and Mallee Heath. The average annual rainfall varies from 1,000mm in the Grampians to as low as 300mm across the Northern Plains.

The region includes the local government regions of Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera, Horsham Rural City, as well as part of Ararat, Buloke, and Pyrenees shires. Most of the region’s population lives in the key regional centres of Horsham and Stawell and in smaller towns such as Warracknabeal, Nhill, Dimboola, and Edenhope.

Natural Landmarks

The region has a diverse array of natural assets including more than 3,000 wetlands.

The Natimuk-Douglas Saline Wetland System contains approximately 200 wetlands that are mostly groundwater fed. The large bird numbers, flocking to this wetland system, attract many bird watchers to the Wimmera.  The Natimuk-Douglas Saline Wetland System is recognised as a site of global bird conservation importance with 11 wetlands within the system being recognised as nationally important.

The major waterway, of the Wimmera River Basin, is the Wimmera River. The Wimmera River has a catchment of about 2.4 million hectares.  Numerous tributaries in the Mount Buangor State Park and Pyrenees Ranges to the south-east join the main Wimmera River upstream of Glenorchy.   Major sub-catchments of Wattle, Concongella, and Mt William Creeks also join.  The Wimmera River flows west to Horsham where it collects the waters of Burnt Creek.  Just downstream it also collects water from MacKenzie River, from the northern part of the Grampians National Park, and Norton Creek, lying at the southern boundary of the Wimmera CMA region.

East of Mt Arapiles, the Wimmera River swings to the north and continues through Dimboola and Jeparit to Lake Hindmarsh; Victoria’s largest freshwater lake. During exceptionally wet periods Lake Hindmarsh overflows into the ephemeral Outlet Creek and on to Lake Albacutya; a Ramsar-listed wetland, extending to the Wirrengren Plain in Victoria’s Mallee. Historic records show flooding of lakes beyond Lake Albacutya, though they have not received floodwater since 1918. The episodic nature of flows into these terminal lakes means that they can be empty for many years before floodwaters fill them for at least a couple of years, watering fringe vegetation and providing a mecca for thousands of migratory water birds. Lake Albacutya is recognised as a Ramsar site of international significance and Lake Hindmarsh is recognised as a site of importance to migratory shorebirds.  Both lakes are recognised as nationally important. These lakes also have significant social, economic, and environmental qualities, and have significant indigenous and non-indigenous cultural heritage sites.

The Wimmera River between Polkemmet (10km north-west of Horsham) and Wirrengren Plain has been proclaimed a Victorian Heritage River due to its significant environmental and social values (Heritage Rivers Act 1992).

The Wimmera also has productive agricultural soils and valuable groundwater reserves. You will also find many cultural and environmental heritage sites in the Wimmera with more than 2,000 sites of indigenous archaeological significance associated with the catchments’ reserves, waterways, floodplains, and wetlands.

Plants & Animals

The region is also home to about 1,500 species of native plants and 420 species of native animals.
Below is a list of some of the threatened plants and animals in the Wimmera.

  

Threatened Flora in the Wimmera that have been identified either Nationally or State-wide as Critically Endangered, Endangered or there is little known information

Threatened Fauna in the Wimmera that have been identified either Nationally or State-wide as Critically Endangered or Endangered

Botanical name Common name
Acacia enterocarpa Jumping Jack Wattle
Arachnorchis fulva - Caladenia fulva Tawny Spider Orchid
Borya mirabilis Grampians Pincushion-lily
Caladenia audasii McIvor Spider orchid
Caladenia lowanesis Wimmera Spider Orchid
Caladenia tensa Rigid Spider Orchid
Caladenia versicolour Candy Spider Orchid
Caladenia xanthochila Yellow-lip Spider Orchid
Callistemon wimmerensis Wimmera Bottlebrush
Cassinia tegulata Avenue Cassinia
Casuriarina obesa Swamp Sheoak
Eriocaulon australasicum Southern Pipewort
Eucalyptus aff. goniocalyx (Wimmera) Wimmera Bundy
Eucalyptus aff. phenax (Jeparit) Jeparit Mallee
Eucalyptus calycogona subsp. calycogona Red Mallee
Eucalyptus sp. aff. dumosa Antwerp Mallee
Eucalyptus sp. aff. dumosa (Nhill) White Mallee
Eucalyptus sp. aff. odorata (Little Desert) Little Desert Mallee
Eucalyptus sp. aff. viminalis (Northern Wimmera) Wimmera Manna-gum
Eucalyptus yarriambiack
Lepidium monoplocoides Winged Peppercress
Olearia sp. 1 Wimmera Daisy-bush
Paracaleana sp. aff. nigrita (Horsham) Grampians Duck Orchid
Pimelea spinescens subsp. pubiflora Wimmera Rice Flower
Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens Spiny Rice–flower
Prasophyllum aff. fitzgeraldii B Deep Lead Leek-orchid
Prasophyllum aff. validum B Woodland Leek-orchid
Sclerolaena napiformis Turnip Copper Burr
Senecio macrocarpus Large–fruit Fireweed
Spyridium sp. Little Desert Forked Spyridium
Swainsona murrayana Slender Darling pea
Tecticornia flabelliformis Bead Glasswort
Thelymitra epipactoides Metallic Sun Orchid
Westringia crassifolia Whipstick Westringia
Common Name Scientific name
Mammals
Smoky Mouse Pseudomys fumeus
Southern bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii
Southern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon obesulus obesulus
Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis
Tiger Quoll/Spotted Tail Quoll Dasyurus maculatus maculatus
Birds
Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis
Australian painted snipe Rostratula australis
Barking Owl Ninox connivens connivens
Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa
Grey- crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis temporalis
Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii graptogyne
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor
Reptiles
Inland Carpet Python Morelia spilota metcalfei
Rosenberg's Goanna Varanus rosenbergi
Invertebrate - Insects
Eltham Copper Butterfly Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida
Golden Sun-moth Synemon plana
Rayed Blue (Lake Wyn Wyn subspecies) Candalides heathi 'Wimmera form'

 

Community

The population is around 50,000 with almost a third of residents living on farms or in small townships of less than 2,000 people. The median age of farmers is 57 and 10% are 75 years or older. The economy is worth $5.7 billion annually with 25% of residents relying directly on agriculture for income. Rural landholders live where they do because of the lifestyle it provides. This is true whether a farmer, a retiree, or living on a lifestyle property. The community acknowledges that land is fundamental to indigenous cultural heritage and wellbeing.

The Wimmera Natural Resource Management (NRM) community is committed to exploring opportunities to incorporate and increase indigenous participation in NRM. It is essential that the NRM practitioners continue to build strong ongoing partnerships and working relationships with the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. This underpins management of the legal native title and cultural heritage obligations, as well as recognising opportunities to expand their role and interests in:

  • land and natural resource planning and management
  • cultural recognition activities such as ‘welcome to country’ acknowledgements use of traditional knowledge, language, lore, and custom
  • employment, business, training, and economic development opportunities that affect traditional owners.