The Lachlan Environmental Water Management Plan (LEWMP) addresses the management of environmental water and integrates this with riverine management and river operations. Riverine protection and management is also a goal and national priority for various Commonwealth and State programs through which natural resource management funding is directed. To meet accreditation criteria for wetland conservation and management the following steps are required:
- Identify, describe and document the wetland resources and wetland values of the Lachlan region (mapping and/or inventory of ecological assets);
- Identify information gaps (e.g. wetland inventory data and mapping) and how to address those gaps for those areas deemed most important for conservation and management;
- Identify, document and address the key threats to water-dependent assets in the Lachlan region;
- Where not already known, determine the significance of the ecological assets present in the region (eg. wetlands assessment);
- Define and prioritise targets for wetland conservation and management within the Lachlan;
- Identify and take account of Commonwealth and State planning and policy frameworks to enhance conservation and management (including restoration) of ecological assets in the region;
- Consult affected stakeholders and the community and identify any social and economic issues that should be incorporated into the LEWMP;
- Determine resource condition targets and management actions for the conservation and management of wetlands;
- Describe how information about the importance, values and functions of wetlands and best practice conservation and management of the overall assets will be disseminated and community awareness increased;
- Document how wetland extent and condition will be monitored and reported.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) exists between involved State and Commonwealth agencies regarding the implementation of the LEWMP and the roles and responsibilities of all agencies. This MoU is particularly important in defining responsibilities and reporting mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the LEWMP. An appropriate monitoring and evaluation framework will ensure that adaptive management and review of the LEWMP will occur.
Plans, policies and legislation that provide national and state direction; aspirational targets; resource condition assessment and guidance to action conservation and management of wetlands need to be taken into account within the LEWMP. The most relevant Plans to the LEWMP are the Lachlan Regulated River Water Sharing Plan, Lachlan Macro Sharing Plans, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The objectives and actions not only relate to State Natural Resource Management planning, but also consider the Commonwealth Governments Caring for our Country by aiming to deliver actions which sustain the environmental values of priority inland high conservation value ecosystems including, as a priority, sites in the Murray-Darling Basin.
The LEWMP also needs to consider the objectives and targets of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Plan and will need to comply with the Environmental Watering Plan (as per the Commonwealth Water Act 2007) and the regionally-based Water Resource Plans. While it is important that the LEWMP is consistent with the Commonwealth and NSW Governments strategic Natural Resource Management Plans, the focus will remain an ecosystem approach, to address all issues relating to restoring wetland health.