Parks Victoria to manage Natimuk Lake weir project
Friday 24 May, 2019
After reviewing an environmental impact assessment on an unauthorised weir at Natimuk Lake, Parks Victoria has decided to seek permits and investigate the costs of completing its construction with a modified design.
Lake Natimuk is part of the nationally significant Natimuk-Douglas saline wetland system, and has important environmental, cultural, recreational, tourism and community values that need to be protected.
In late 2016, the Natimuk Lake Foreshore Committee of Management began construction of a weir and embankment on land outside the committee’s legal authority and without approval from Parks Victoria.
The works were subsequently halted until an assessment of the potential environmental effects of the elevated structure could be completed.
While the assessment found that the new weir may have some flow-on impact to the area around the lake and the broader wetland system, Parks Victoria is confident they can be controlled with a modified design – specifically, that the weir’s height can be adjusted to different water levels.
As the weir is not on land managed by the Committee of Management, Parks Victoria has decided to take on the project, which will still require legal, safety, environmental, cultural heritage, and regulatory checks, and a cost-assessment. Support for the project will be required from Traditional Owners; the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Horsham City Rural Council; and the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority.
Parks Victoria informed the Committee of Management of its decision this week. As the committee’s term expires on 7 June 2019, Parks Victoria will also meet with the incoming committee to discuss these matters.
Subject to approvals for construction of a modified weir, a plan for its operation at various heights will also be developed in consultation with the committee, agency partners and the broader community.
The environmental impact assessment on the weir was commissioned by the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, drawing on input from the local community.
Quotes attributable to Sally Lewis, Regional Director–Parks Victoria:
“Parks Victoria has a responsibility to protect more than 4 million hectares of public land, and to ensure that any construction that takes place there is undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner.”
“While this has been a complex matter to resolve, there is now an evidenced-based environmental impact assessment from which we can explore construction of a weir with a modified design, subject to approvals.”
“Following a full and frank meeting with the Committee of Management this week, we’ve committed to working together to progress the legal, safety, environmental, cultural heritage, and regulatory checks on this project.”