Posted by Siwan Lovett | April 5, 2017
It is always good to know what other people think about the work you are doing, so it is with pride that we share these ‘gifts’ from a range of supporters and friends of our program.
Professor Ross Thompson:
The Rivers of Carbon project has successfully married social and ecological world views on water in a genuine partnership between communities and scientists. Focussing on the aesthetic, ecological and biochemical values of waterways, Siwan Lovett has woven a complex story of the value of water in the landscape. Working collaboratively to restore waterways, particularly through riparian restoration, Siwan has brought the latest science and built a narrative that makes it both appealing and engaging to non-scientists She has developed a wide range of highly successful engagement resources, ranging from online materials through to publications and field days. She has coupled this with summaries from leading scientists that directly inform the management approach. Perhaps the single greatest testament to her approach is that her greatest champions are the landowners, both farmers and traditional owners, who are vocal supporters of her work.
Professor Ross Thompson is Director, Chair of Water Science and ARC Future Fellow in the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra.
Ms Leith Boully:
The ingredients that Siwan Lovett brings together in the rivers of Carbon Project are;
- the hearts and minds of people passionate about protecting their environment
- important pieces of the river environment
- the very best science and restoration practice, and
- pragmatic and practical approaches to achieving the desired outcomes
The result – an environment that will be more sustainable for the long term, people who are proud of their achievements and a people focused restoration process that works.
Leith Boully is former National and International Riverprize Judge, as well as holding several senior Board positions for industry and not for profit organisations.
Professor Ian Rutherfurd:
There are many agencies and groups doing stream restoration activities in Australia and internationally. And the activities that Rivers of Carbon do on the ground are not surprising: riparian revegetation, restoring connectivity for fish, training communities and so on. But what is fundamentally different is their delivery model (or business model if you like). They essentially package resources from different sources, and then deliver those in a unique way (and I use the word unique deliberately).
Their five Ps program (profit, proof, people, place, and promise) is a beautiful summary of the philosophy here. Their focus on the needs and perspectives of the communities they work is the key to their success. They have leveraged the idea of river corridors as rivers of carbon as a starting point for their program, but have built out to even more sophisticated approaches. You can see that the foundation of their work is to unlock the values of rivers and riparian areas – whether that value is carbon, organisms, shade, or spiritual well-being. This approach has great application internationally.
The success of the program is greatly influenced by the tireless efforts of the Director Dr Siwan Lovett. I have known Siwan for many years, and could not think of a more dedicated advocate for rivers and wetlands. Central to her success is her clear philosophy that managing landscapes is about managing relationships. She helps her communities to see themselves, and the aquatic systems that they care about, as part of that same community. She has espoused this philosophy effectively and persuasively at every opportunity, and it has succeeded in changing the way both professionals and individuals across Australia see their restoration mission.
I have seen the Rivers of Carbon program in action on the ground, and it has been an inspiring experience.
Professor Ian Rutherfurd has been inspiring waterway managers in his presentations and research over many years, he is part of the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography. Ian has also spoken at a number of our forums, check out his latest video.
Dr Luke Pearce:
I have been working with the Rivers of Carbon (RoC) team on several projects now for a number of years. I have found the model and the approach from the team involved to be an extremely successful process, one that has been successful in engaging and connecting the local community and landholders back to their rivers and waterways.
The program has been extremely useful with regard to threatened species projects that I have been working on, it has enabled these projects and species to gain a wider audience through which has built awareness, engagement and ownership. Local landholders are now aware of threatened species that live in their waterways, they have an affinity with and for them, where as previously they did not even know they existed. This has allowed for ongoing targeted management aimed at maintaining and improving these populations of threatened species that would have otherwise gone largely unnoticed and unassisted. Too often we tend to work in isolation I think the real value in RoC is that it brings everyone together working towards a common goal.
Dr Luke Pearce works at Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries as a senior research scientist, he is also very handy at cooking carp (!) and is a terrific communicator
You might be thinking, yeah, but what do landowners say about Rivers of Carbon? Well, here are some of the comments we have received and you can also check out our videos and write ups from our Community Conversations to hear first hand from those that work with us:
The RoC program has helped me to almost totally rehabilitate a gully site affected by erosion and salinity issues (Alan Della)
Livestock do much better when excluded from gullies, and the fencing has also resulted in natural regeneration of native vegetation (Rob Fraser)
The birdlife has increased with revegetation, and the fenced out gully area becomes a fodder bank for dry times (Tom McCormack)
The RoC program staff have a good understanding of farmers’ needs, matching conservation to the farm plan (Ben Noble)
Being involved with RoC has complemented my holistic management approach to grazing (Matt Doyle)
The RoC program has resulted in a big difference on the ground, with a lot more regeneration of casuarinas (Shaun Young)
I plan to continue revegetating my stretch of the Numeralla River and involve neighbours in improving fish habitat (Brett Jones)
The RoC program encourages and helps people to do work that they otherwise may not do (Richard & Patricia Wilkinson)