If you own land with or adjacent to a waterway, it's your responsibility to keep in touch with your local council land management officers and seek their advice when you need it. Your neighbours will have similar responsibilities, so make sure you're each aware of what's going on in your stretch of the land.
Never use heavy machinery near a waterway without a permit!
After a flood, it helps to know what your legal responsibilities are during the recovery stage. Council staff are committed in their response to emergencies; however, they are only responsible for repairing or replacing assets on council land. This means that any assets on private land (such as bridges and roads) are the responsibility of the landowner – even where debris which may have been pushed onto your land from somewhere else.
This is why knowing your property boundaries and the assets on your land is very important. Some property boundaries end in the middle of the river! Crown Land Services (state government) may also own land near you. Visit thelist.tas.gov.au for more information.
You must submit a development application to Council before doing any major works involving river systems. Discuss your proposal with a council planning officer to help identify how you can minimise environmental impact. In the case of emergency works near waterways to protect people or property (placing sandbags, removing debris during flooding), you should still obtain written approval from Council.
When cleaning up after a flood, remember:
If you would like any technical advice about river recovery, revegetation or weed control, or further information on how to increase health and resilience in your surrounding waterways, please contact the Derwent Catchment Project email@example.com or 6286 3211.
Restoring land after a flood
Seeking advice from Council land management officers is a good idea in the aftermath of a flood. Tasks to consider right away:
Straight after a flood there could be considerable debris and flood damage on your land.
Revegetating after a flood
Revegetation is an important task that will help you to stabilise riverbanks after a flood. Over time, native plants will provide a buffer of deep-rooted vegetation which will create a healthier and more resilient riverbank. Using native plant revegetation, you can:
All sections of the river with restoration works should be fenced off. If this isn’t possible, exclude stock for six months where pasture grass has been sown, or three to five years where native trees and shrubs have been planted. Use mesh tree guards and stakes to prevent native animals from browsing your plantings.
Environmental and declared weeds will rapidly invade bare soil, so monitor and control regularly to stop the problem getting out of hand. Where you can, hand pull or dig the weed out. Cut/paste is also a good method: cut the main stem as close to the ground as practical and paste the stump with glyphosate (e.g. Roundup). If these methods are not possible, spray with broad spectrum broadleaf herbicide (e.g. Triclopyr) during active growing times (spring/summer), unless it is blackberry, which is best sprayed in late autumn when it is past fruiting but before the leaves drop.
It is vital to spray away from the river to avoid herbicide entering the water. It is important to remove any weed fragments from the river edge as some species can resprout from stems.
Heavy machinery and infrastructure
Seek advice from you council natural resource management officer. If you need heavy machinery to remove debris or for any in-stream works you will need a development application or works permit.
Flood plains are prone to occasional flooding so try and plan your infrastructure for minimal risk. Ensure stability of structures to withstand possible flooding.
If you would like any technical advice about revegetation/weed control or further information on how to increase health and resilience in your surrounding waterways, please contact the Derwent Catchment Project firstname.lastname@example.org or 6286 3211.