THE ongoing saga of the Powlett River mouth closure flooding continues, with resident Robin Lowe exploring new ways in which affected residents could be compensated.
Robin’s 36 acre farm at Powlett River has been left unusable in recent years after flooding inundated up to 80 per cent of the property, due to the West Gippsland Water Catchment Authority’s reluctance to artificially open the river mouth when it closes.
The mouth of the Powlett River closed again on March 29, and flood waters are quickly rising, with parts of the Powlett River road expected to be inundated soon.
Rather than proceed with legal action, Robin has researched ways in which the flooding can become a win-win situation for landowners and the environment.
The possibility of blue carbon being stored in the wetlands of the Powlett River is a factor that he has considered.
According to the International Blue Carbon Initiative, when protected or restored, blue carbon ecosystems sequester and store carbon.
When degraded or destroyed, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere and oceans and become sources of greenhouse gases.
Robin said the prevalence of blue carbon in the Powlett River must be explored.
“There’s been research into what they call blue carbon by a very prominent guy that works at Deakin University who’s a leading scientist looking into blue carbon in the world,” he said.
“Blue carbon is around estuaries and in the soil and vegetation that grows there. Estuaries are like nurseries for fish and birdlife and there’s a lot of value in it has ecological area.
“I’m trying to mount the case to government to try get blue carbon valued in Powlett River.
“We could become carbon permission farmers or get some compensation which could fund land buyback so companies could buy it and give back to the community.”
Robin also believes that the area should be transformed into a wildlife corridor.
“For people who want to get out of the flooding nightmare, the government could buy the properties and this area could become a vast wetland,” he said.
“It could join up with the coastal reserve in Kilcunda, link up with all the land along the river and with the desalination plant area where trees and everything have grown, and feed back into the coastal reserve.
“We could have great a wetland wilderness and hopefully it would draw people in to see the birdlife in a natural habitat.
“It would be win-win for the environment and wildlife and it would also preserve areas that are deemed high in blue carbon.”
Solution to the Powlett conundrum