Some of the river management challenges under this project

Blackberries and willows choking the

Molonglo River (near Queanbeyan) and most of the way from here to Lake Burley Griffin and beyond.

Litter and pollution (Lake Tuggeranong).. a common site around the urban lakes.

Lost amenity opportunities.  Dumping area behind Gladstone Street in Fyshwick. Not a good look from the air for those visiting Canberra, and this area would be a great 'green' open space and commercial opportunity for businesses overlooking the river.

Low-level crossing barrier to fish passage during low flow periods (Coppins Crossing). All such structures should be re-designed to encourage the return of native fish.


Where is the wildlife ? 

By comparison with other inland lakes Canberra's are like wildlife deserts !  Let's make them havens for waterbirds, frogs, platypus, tortoises and native fish. 



Capital region plays hosts to two fantastic river events


On the weekend of 13-14 March there were two events held around the waterways of the national capital region which demonstrated how much interest there is in water sports, river relaxation and getting involved with helping rid our rivers and lakes of pest species. 


These were the Queanbeyan regatta on Saturday 13th March, enjoyed by several thousand people, with lots of very imaginative 'boats' (?) created and raced on the river - see an example at right and click on the photo to see more of the same.


Then on Sunday 14th March, 2,000 plus registered in the Carp Out around Lake Burley Griffin and again enjoyed a relaxing day by the water helping to reduce the numbers of feral fish.  In some places it was almost standing room only - see the photo at right and click on it to see more of the day.


Congratulations to the organisers and sponsors of both events. 



RiverSmart's way of operating is to help establish community-based programs within urban and rural areas that help 'connect' people with their nearby rivers, wetlands and lakes so they take on a stewardship role and also take steps to reduce the collective 'river footprint' of the community. 


This involves not only facilitating the rehabilitation of nearby rivers, lakes and wetlands but also the development of RiverSmart schools, businesses, farms, households etc initiatives within each community.  These are tailored to suit the local issues, concerns and priorities of the local population and landholders.


The Capital Region RiverSmart campaign sees us working with a range of stakeholders to help advance the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach and Molonglo River Rescue projects; playing a facilitation role to develop suitable investment plans, mobilise funding and undertake consultations in relation to these initiatives.



Molonglo Gorge upstream of Queanbeyan and Canberra - willows are slowly invading this once pristine area.



Litter and stormwater polluting the lakes, 'feeding' algal blooms and forcing lake closures.


Macca the platypus comes to Canberra

Our first RiverSmart mascot, Macca will be coming to a river near you soon !  Check him out below as he takes in the sights of our national capital.



World Wetlands Day (2 February)

dedicated to Jerrabomberra wetland - help create and realise a vision for the site


Each year this day is celebrated as World Wetlands Day marking the day the international wetland convention, otherwise known as Ramsar, was enacted. 


To mark World Wetlands Day this year we decided to dedicate it to Jerrabomberra wetland in heart of our national capital.  Right now this site needs help....see the photo below of accumulated litter and a declared weed species, blackberries.  The site is also over-run with rabbits, has lots of carp when it has water and there are weeds everywhere.  Cattle are allowed to access the wetland and its source creek. We believe the site is also threatened by a current development proposal which the ACT government has under consideration, as well as that age old problem, the 'tyranny of small decisions'. 


RiverSmart is putting forward a vision for this site which would see it look a bit different to now !  So follow this link to see what we think should happen.  We're keen to get your views so we can take them to the government to consider.



Stuff we're doing at present


RiverSmart is presently working on, or with others, to get these things happening:


- cleanup of Spinnaker Island in Lake Burley Griffin to removes its weeds and re-open it for community use.  Being done with the Canberra Yacht Club and Greening Australia.


- development of a carp management plan for the Canberra region (funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority).


- development of a teachers curriculum guide to help bring river management concepts into schools across the Murray-Darling Basin.  Project being lead by Waterwatch ACT and funded by MDBA among others.


- development of the implementation plan for Molonglo River Rescue - project under the leadership of the Molonglo Catchment Group.


- development of the implementation plan for the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach - project under the leadership of  ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands.


- holding of a Lake-a-thon event on Lake Burley Griffin where we hope up to ten different sporting and recreational events will take place over the one weekend.


- a world-class education and training facility at Jerrabomberra wetland - follow this link to see our vision for the site.



Canberra Raiders and RiverSmart
team up

On 26 February, Josh Miller from the Raiders senior leadership group was announced as the newest of RiverSmart's ambassadors.  The full press release can be found here.  Josh hails from Forbes on the Lachlan river and is a keen angler. 


RiverSmart is delighted to welcome Josh to our 'team'.  We look forward to him helping us get our key messages out to the broader community.


Follow this link to see how Macca the mascot regretted not giving Josh his RiverSmart T-shirt !!  And, lots of photos of Macca at the Raiders-Bulldogs trial game in Dubbo on Saturday 27 February.



What is our vision ?

      It doesn't have to be like this !


What we want it to be like:

  • No lake closures due to poor water quality

  • Willow-free open water for canoeing from the Queanbeyan River to Scrivener Dam

  • Being able to catch fish other than carp

  • More opportunities to appreciate and enjoy these community assets with a network of community ‘green’ open spaces along the Molonglo river and lakeshores

  • Lakes and rivers that are a haven for wildlife, with platypus frolicking in Lake Burley Griffin and the surrounding rivers a common sight.

Our RiverSmart Ambassadors


The following well-known locals have agreed to lend their support to this initiative and to be our ambassadors:


1. Tim Gavel - sports commentator

2.  Tim the Yowie Man




Capital Region RiverSmart

(Canberra-Queanbeyan region - click here to find out more)


RiverSmart supports Molonglo River 24-hour event


RiverSmart was pleased to be able to lend our support to the  Burley Griffin Canoe Club for their highly successful 24 hour challenge on 6-7 November.  The event took place at Molonglo Reach in the heart of the national capital, and 15 teams and 60 competitors toughed it out around the 5 km course from 10 am Saturday until 10 am Sunday.


We helped out with safety whistles and craft, plus some of our event equipment and a few prizes.  Congratulations to the other sponsors as well, including Wet Spot Water Sports and Subway.


Next year we hope to do more and see lots more people there for what is a great event.  Well done Justin, James and the rest of the Club.


Competitors line up for the start.


The RiverSmart marquee ready and waiting ! 




Spinnaker Island rehabilitation

gets underway


Spinnaker Island, in the midst of Lake Burley Griffin, is about to undergo a facelift.


 RiverSmart, working with the Canberra Yacht Club, Greening Australia and the Molonglo Catchment Group, began the cleanup and rehabilitation on Sunday 15 August.  The island has, over the years, become overgrown with a smorgasboard of weed species including willows, blackberry, ivy and on it goes. 


So, the above organisations, with the approval and support of the National Capital Authority have formed a 'Friends of Spinnaker Island' group to remove the weeds and replant it with the open Yellow box-Red gum community it was before the lake was formed.


Despite the windy and damp weather, 26 keen Yacht Club volunteers got busy on Sunday piling up the willows felled by a contractor, ready for burning in a  few months time.  Next will be the smaller weeds and then the planting. Watch this space for updates.  See some photos below of all the action. 


Yacht Club volunteers making piles of woody weeds


Team work was needed to get this felled willow to shore.


Queanbeyan regatta


One of the serious contenders that took to the water in the Queanbeyan regatta - click the photo for more photos of the day.


Lake Burley Griffin Carp Out


It was standing room only in some locations at the Carp Out around Lake Burley Griffin. Click on the photo for more photos of the day.





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