Rivers of Carbon – Source Water Linkages

This region was an important meeting place, which means that it wasn’t just inhabited by one particular Aboriginal group, but had many.  We recognise the Mulwaree, Wollondilly, Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharrook, Tharawal, Tarlo, Pajong, Parramarragoo, Cookmal, Burra Burra, Lachlan and Ngunawal people.  We acknowledge their continuing connection with, and knowledge about land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
Adapted from: Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement of Country – Creative Spirits

“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.”

– Luna Leopold, Hydrologist

Project Purpose:

Rivers of Carbon – Source Water Linkages began in 2017 and is a partnership between Rivers of Carbon and WaterNSW to protect and restore river and riparian areas in Sydney’s water catchments. This is a large area encompassing Braidwood, Goulburn and the Southern Highlands, and we are delighted to be working with landholders who are keen to manage their rivers, creeks, wetlands or ponds, to reduce erosion, improve water quality, stabilise banks and boost biodiversity through revegetation. Managing stock is central to our on-ground work, so fencing and off stream watering are also key strategies we develop with landholders.

Our approach is to work with landholders to achieve a range of objectives. We visit your property and work with you to develop a plan for your riparian area that may involve fencing, small-scale erosion works and revegetation. Once we agree with you about what you want to achieve, and it fits within our Rivers of Carbon objectives, we will bring it together in a ten year Greening Australia Management Agreement that both parties sign. These Agreements are straight forward, common sense and easy to follow. We will then assist you in planning and undertaking the works. We generally cover at least half of the costs involved in implementing the Management Agreement, with the landholder also contributing cash and in-kind support.

In addition to getting works done on your place, you become part of our Rivers of Carbon community with access to workshops, field days and our friendly team. We believe that looking after our ‘social capital’, which is made up of people, relationships and networks, is just as important as our ‘natural capital’ which are the rivers, streams and wetlands we want to restore.

Source Water Linkages Project Area

Click to enlarge. Source: Angela Calliess, Greening Australia
Ben Hanrahan, Project Coordinator

Highlight from 3 years of Source Water Linkages 2017-20

“This year we completed the third year of the Source Water Linkages project. The project has drawn strong interest from people across the Sydney water catchment. The main highlight for me has been the opportunity to meet members of the community who are interested in protecting and improving their part of the catchment and the opportunity to visit some of the beautiful areas that are tucked away on private land across the catchment.

Some of the landholders were part of the project because they were progressive farm managers that have a keen interest in regenerative agriculture such as Alex Djikic, Angus Gibson, Thom Appel and Russel Erwin. These guys really appreciate how protecting their waterways will have a direct benefit to their farming business with flow on benefits to the broader environment and community. I found working with them reassuring when I thought about the future of agricultural land in our district. Other landholders, such as Chris Besley, Nick Huggins and the Visman’s had a real focus on the environmental benefits that will come from protecting their riparian areas.

We have a concentration of landholders around to the west of Goulburn, another cluster on the upper Mulwaree catchment south of Lake Bathurst, and sites spread throughout the rest of the catchment. Having the opportunity to visit some of these diverse areas has been a real highlight for me. Some of the standout sites would be the bird life on Mulwaree ponds at Angus Gibson’s, the springs at the Visman’s aptly named ‘Why Worry’ property near Taralga and the “Yarrawah Bush” (rainforest) at George Sartorel’s property near Kangaloon.

I am looking forward to continuing meeting and working with land mangers that are passionate about protecting and improving their property across the catchment and watching the sites that we have worked on improve into the future.”

The all important last step of watering in newly planted trees. Photo credit: Ben Hanrahan
The Rivers of Carbon team Lucy, Ben, Siwan and Lori at Kentgrove November 2019. Photo credit: Mary Bonet
Antia presenting at a Community Conversation about Stock and Waterways. Photo credit: Siwan Lovett
Young volunteers helping out at our National Tree Day event in July 2019. Photo credit: Andrew Lowes
A submersible solar pump delivers water to a header tank which is then gravity fed to a number of troughs around the property. Photo: Jillian Staton.
One of our great volunteers "swinging" into tree planting action at our National Tree Day event in July 2019. Photo credit: Andrew Lowes.
Landowner Keith Gray kicking back after a bit National Tree Day event. Photo credit: Siwan Lovett

Project Timeline:

2018 - 2021

Outcomes achieved so far:

36 landholders involved

Working across 38 sites

51.7kms of riparian area fenced

201.3ha of riparian area protected

Planting of 19,030 plants

8 activities, 500+ people engaged

4 practical resources created

Practical Resources

WaterNSW, in partnership with the Australian River Restoration Centre is serious about sharing knowledge to support landholders wanting to better manage their riparian areas. Working together we have developed several products that translate the science of waterway management into practical and accessible resources:

Stock and Waterways: A NSW Manager’s Guide

As part of the Source Water Linkages project, the Stock and Waterways guide was updated in conjunction with farmers and practitioners in different parts of New South Wales to improve the on-farm management of riparian land. The guide is based on the principle that riparian land forms an important part of the entire farm, and should be managed taking into account its special needs. Both a print edition and website were produced to allow ease of accessibility.

Print Edition

Visit Website

Buffers Sponges and Moderators

In the face of a changing climate, one that is expected to bring increased extremes in weather patterns, wouldn’t it be nice to have a riparian system you could describe as ‘buffers, sponges and moderators’. The swampy meadow does just that, as a result of the combination of the landform, the hydrology and the dense vegetation it supports, and is a gem when it comes to bringing resilience to the waterways, farms and wildlife of this dry old continent.

Learn More

Download Fact Sheet

“Thank you for creating Stock and Waterways – such a fantastic resource that is easy to understand and shows practical solutions. I have no doubt it will be a useful tool for our teams to drive landholders to for greater understanding.”

– Kurt Laboyrie, Soil Conservation Service

Guide: Protecting and restoring our threatened Australian native plant species

This guide, prepared by David Taylor and Siwan Lovett, shares more about the threatened native plants in our region, enabling us to integrate the protection and restoration of these species into our river and land management efforts.

Read Guide

Guide: Collecting and caring for seed from Australian native plants

The reintroduction of species into the landscape relies on seed collection for plant propagation and direct seeding. This handy guide from Greening Australia and Rivers of Carbon covers things you need to think about when collecting, propagating and storing native seed.

Read Guide

Get Involved:

We have a flyer you can download for more information, as well as an Expression of Interest form you are welcome to take a look at and complete. You can also contact Ben Hanrahan or Lori Gould to have a chat, their details are below.

Ben Hanrahan, Greening Australia:
✉️bhanrahan@greeningaustralia.org.au
📞0491 221 157

Lori Gould, RoC Program Manager:
✉️lori.gould@arrc.com.au
📞0439 030 058

Extended project: Rivers of Carbon Mulwaree

Rivers of Carbon Mulwaree is an extension of our Rivers of Carbon Source Water Linkages project funded by our partners WaterNSW. The project was developed in recognition of the importance of the Mulwaree Ponds region, and the need for a smaller, targeted effort working with a few landholders to protect and restore this valuable chain of ponds system. Read more about Mulwaree by following this link.

River Styles Short Course 2019 class presenting at Mulwaree Ponds at Kelburn. Photo credit: Kirstie Fryirs.
Report on the geomorphic condition, and protection and rehabilitation priorities for Mulwaree chain-of-ponds

View Report

Please contact Kirstie Fryers at kirstie.fryirs@mq.edu.au for more information.

Download our handy resource pack:

Stay connected:

If you would like to keep up to date with our work then please subscribe to the Australian River Restoration Centre’s free e-newsletter below as this will advertise any upcoming activities.



Our work is being funded through our partnership with WaterNSW. We also work closely with South-east Local Land Services who offer support for broader landscape and erosion issues through their Rural Landscapes Program.