Yarriambiack and Buloke

The Yarriambiack Local Area extends north from the Barringgi Gadyin (Wimmera River) to just north of Brim. It covers the southern part of Yarriambiack Shire and western portion of Buloke Shire.

Yarriambiack Creek is the major natural feature bisecting the Local Area, flowing north into the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region to terminate at Lake Coorong northeast of Hopetoun. Dunmunkle Creek also flows in a northerly direction in the eastern part of the Local Area. Agriculture, specifically grain production, is the primary source of income. The Wimmera Mallee Pipeline has facilitated the development of intensive animal industries, mostly pigs and ducks.

map of Yarriambiack and Buloke Shire Area

The Yarriambiack Local Area has a rich cultural history with First Nations people living traditionally up until the 1930s. The Yarriambiack and Dunmunkle Creeks were originally inhabited by the Wotjobaluk people. The many scarred trees and middens present provide evidence of the importance of this area to Aboriginal people. Barrabool Flora and Fauna Reserve is a distinctive place that contains over 120 scarred trees and some of the most significant artefact scatters in the region.

The Yarriambiack and Dunmunkle Creeks provide two waterways of largely connected riparian vegetation running south to north. They provide ecological links through a highly agricultural landscape. The creeks are hydrologically rare systems within south-east Australia. They are episodic distributaries of the Barringgi Gadyin (Wimmera River), meaning they flow away from the river, only receiving flows when the river has high flows and floods.(87)

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWMWater) supplies recreational water from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline to weir pools on the Yarriambiack Creek at Warracknabeal and Brim, Lake Marma at Murtoa and Watchem Lake. This water provides environmental benefits, recreational opportunities for local communities and attracts visitors. The limited places in the Yarriambiack where surface water is regularly present have become a focus for the local community. There is passionate interest in their condition and management. Water-skiing, camping and fishing are popular at the Warracknabeal and Brim weir pools. Fishing is also popular at Jack Emmett Billabong on the Dunmunkle Creek at Rupanyup and Lake Marma.

Threatened species have also been recorded along or in the catchment of both creeks including species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 such as the turnip copperburr (Sclerolaena napiformis), winged pepper-cress (Lepidium monoplocoides), slender darling-pea (Swainsona murrayana), Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), Mallee emu-wren (Stipiturus mallee), Wimmera rice-flower (Pimelea spienscens subsp. publiflora) and growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis).

Nationally threatened ecological communities include Buloke Woodlands of the Riverina and Murray-Darling Depression Bioregions and Natural Grasslands of the Murray Valley Plains.

Scattered wetlands exist in Crown Reserves and occasionally on private land. Some of these receive environmental water from the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline to help retain biodiversity values in the largely agricultural landscape.

Many small, fragmented pockets of native vegetation remain on private land and roadsides. These are predominantly Buloke Woodlands, a threatened ecological community, and some represent the best examples of these communities in the Wimmera. There is also high-quality endangered vegetation on private land, particularly around the Barrabool and Marma state forests.

Yarrilinks is a well-established, community run, Landcare network covering the southern Yarriambiack region. It aims to improve the connectivity of native vegetation in and around the Yarriambiack and Dunmunkle Creeks and along roadsides. In some cases, Landcare groups volunteer their time in management activities around weed control. The Yarriambiack Creek Advisory Group focuses on the integrated management of the Yarriambiack Creek across the Wimmera and Mallee CMA areas. The group has a keen interest in providing permanent water at towns along the creek.

The Birchip Cropping Group and Victorian No–Till Farmer’s Association are two of the most active agricultural groups in the area. They both undertake a range of progressive and innovative trials to support farmers to improve productivity. Improving the environmental and economic sustainability of farms is a key focus.