The NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group Inc. (NSW MWWG) was formed in 1992, upon recognition by NSW Government of the continuing loss and degradation of wetlands in the catchment of the River Murray in NSW. The mission of the Group was to rehabilitate degraded wetlands and improve the management of wetlands throughout the Murray and Lower Murray Darling catchments in NSW, by linking community involvement with best scientific understanding.
Members were drawn from community, industry, Local Government, catchment management committees, government agencies, the former Murray-Darling Basin Commission and The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre. From 2000 to 2009, the group managed two Adaptive Environmental Water licenses to improve wetlands in the Murray Valley.
Highly successful, the NSW MWWG received four Rivercare 2000 awards, was a finalist for the 2002 Thiess National Riverprize and was the winner of the 2007 Thiess National Riverprize.
In 2009, Murray Darling Wetlands Ltd. (later re-named as Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd.) was established to replace the NSW MWWG and commenced operation in May 2010. It was formed as a not-for-profit Company as a result of the Group wishing to engage with the corporate sector, as well as other NGOs working in the water sector. It is registered as an Australian Public Company limited by guarantee, established under the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth).
In 2014, the Group acquired the Environmental Water Trust and entered into a 10 year partnership with The Nature Conservancy (Australia) to manage environmental water donated to the Environmental Water Trust. Together with The Nature Conservancy and Kilter Rural, the Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund was established, the first of its kind in Australia. The Fund was established with the dual objectives of providing water security to irrigators and restoring important wetlands, while paying a return to investors. The Fund provides donations of water and cash to the Environmental Water Trust.
The establishment of the 10 year relationship with The Nature Conservancy commits the Group to a long- term role in managing environmental water, particularly on private lands, including Aboriginal lands.
The Group also manages water for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, which together with water management for the Water Trust, consolidates the Group as the only NGO environmental water professionals working across the Basin.
Our history has been, and continues to be written, as a result of the efforts and commitment of great people. We give special thanks and acknowledgement to Rick Webster, Rhonda Sinclair, Roger Good, and Vin Byrnes.
A community member of the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group executive since 2007 and involved in the group since its inception, Roger was a highly regarded Alpine Ecologist who worked with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for 30 years and contributed significantly to alpine catchments restoration of the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park. Deeply respected as a scientist and for his love of the Alpine wetlands.
Rick was the Senior Environmental Water Manager from 2016 to 2019, successfully managing the watering of wetlands in NSW and Victoria. Rick had a lifetime of experience working in the wetlands and rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin and was highly regarded for his superb field skills and immense knowledge. Coupled with a laconic sense of humour and big smile, Rick was a true quiet achiever.
Vin was a member of NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group since 1995. A viticulturist, his experience in and knowledge of irrigation farming and the associated dried fruit industry, made him a highly valued member of the Group’s executive. His knowledge and championing of the rivers and wetlands near Dareton NSW where he lived, coupled with his farmer’s perspective meant he was always in demand to be involved in a range of groups and committees. Vin believed “that the environment and irrigators can exist together with a bit of commonsense, but a healthy river is a necessity for both.”
Rhonda joined the Group as Program Manager in 2012, and immediately commenced the management of a wetland rehabilitation project near Wentworth, NSW on the Carrs, Cappitts and Bunberoo Creeks system. With nearly 30 years experience in the water industry, Rhonda was invaluable to the Group’s smooth running and co-ordination. Compassionate and committed, Rhonda’s legacy continues through her mentoring of staff and many successfully completed projects.