Why ‘rivers of carbon?’
At the very start it is important to understand what we mean when we talk about ‘Rivers of Carbon’. The living world around us, on the land and in the water, is based on carbon. Carbon is one of the most abundant elements in the universe and is an essential part of us and our environment – we need carbon to survive. Carbon found in something living is called organic carbon. The organic carbon in living organisms comes from carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.
We pay our respects to the traditional Aboriginal Peoples of this country, and acknowledge Aboriginal Peoples, past, present and emerging, as the original natural resources managers of this land.
Image: River Dreaming image. Artist: Richie Allen (Ngunnawal/Kamilaroi), Traditional Aboriginal Owners Corporation.
Our passionate team of Environmental Scientists, Science Communicators, and Ecologists combine rigorous technical knowledge with a wealth of experience. This allows us to work effectively with landholders and their properties to achieve the best environmental outcome.
The Rivers of Carbon (RoC) 7-step approach helps bring together biophysical, social and cultural knowledge for long-term waterway sustainability. We work alongside landholders and their communities to protect and restore waterways for long-term sustainability through integrated strategies.
Every Rivers of Carbon team members believes that all people are knowledgeable and as such, we place the seven steps outlined above within a broader Rivers Management Framework called the Five Ps. The Five P’s stand for Profit, Proof, People, Place and Promise and ensure that as we work through the seven steps outlined above, we do so within the broader context of people’s lives, livelihoods and lifestyles.
Aboriginal knowledge and connections
Aboriginal communities have a spiritual and customary living relationship with water in all its forms, through creation stories, use of water as a resource, and knowledge about sharing and conserving water. Aboriginal people have a holistic view to land, water and culture and see them as one, not in isolation of each other. At Rivers of Carbon we try to develop strong and meaningful relationships with Aboriginal people so that we can share our knowledge, combine our strengths, and together, care for the land and water that sustains us.
Monitoring, evaluation and learning
Monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) is an integral component of our Rivers of Carbon initiative. It is often said that ‘you cannot manage it if you cannot measure it’, and it is certainly difficult to be confident that management is effective if there is no supporting evidence. As well as helping to show whether management is achieving its objectives, MEL also provides a basis for adaptive management and continued improvement, and can assist in identifying priorities when we have to choose where to put our resources.
What landholders and scientists say
"The Rivers of Carbon project has successfully married social and ecological world views on water in a genuine partnership between communities and scientists."
— Professor Ross Thompson
"I have seen the Rivers of Carbon program in action on the ground, and it has been an inspiring experience."
— Professor Ian Rutherford
"I have found the [Rivers of Carbon] 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."
— Dr Luke Pearce
“Being involved with RoC has complemented my holistic management approach to grazing.”
— Matt Doyle
“The birdlife has increased with revegetation, and the fenced out gully area becomes a fodder bank for dry times.”
— Tom McCormack
“The RoC program encourages and helps people to do work that they otherwise may not do.”
— Richard & Patricia Wilkinson
“The RoC program has resulted in a big difference on the ground, with a lot more regeneration of casuarinas.”
— Shaun Young
“Livestock do much better when excluded from gullies, and the fencing has also resulted in natural regeneration of native vegetation.”
— Rob Fraser
“I plan to continue revegetating my stretch of the Numeralla River and involve neighbours in improving fish habitat.”
— Brett Jones
"The RoC program staff have a good understanding of farmers’ needs, matching conservation to the farm plan."
— Ben Noble
"The RoC program has helped me to almost totally rehabilitate a gully site affected by erosion and salinity issues."
— Alan Della