A FALLEN tree “deemed a possible risk” to water flow in Stockyard Creek, downstream from the Bridge Street bridge in central Foster, will be dealt with by contractors appointed by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA).
The tree, a mature eucalypt, was growing alongside the creek at the rear of the Main Street shops before it collapsed over and into the creek after heavy rain about a fortnight ago.
Local residents were concerned about the tree impeding the movement of the creek water, given its current increased volume due to an unusually wet summer.
A WGCMA spokesperson noted that West Gippsland “has received above average rainfall over the last three years.
“The region has experienced moderate-major flooding in the past few months and most recently over the Christmas-New Year period with catchments of Corner Inlet, including Stockyard Creek, experiencing high flows,” the spokesperson said.
“The trees in Stockyard Creek have been inspected and not all are obstructing flow or exacerbating the issue, however a large tree below the Bridge Street bridge that came down during the recent event has been deemed a possible risk.
“West Gippsland CMA will organise contractors to manage this tree to reduce the obstruction of the waterflow,” they said.
“Timing has not been confirmed and it will be done as soon as possible, based on contractor availability.”
The WGCMA spokesperson advised that “managing risks from flooding to private or public property is not the responsibility of West Gippsland CMA, as highlighted in the South Gippsland Shire Council’s ‘Stockyard Creek [and Bennison Creek] Flood Study’.
“However, in this case, West Gippsland CMA is well placed to respond to this issue,” the spokesperson concluded.
Following major flooding events within the township of Foster in 2017, South Gippsland Shire Council (SGSC) and the WGCMA) received State Government funding to undertake a flood and drainage study for the town including Stockyard Creek and Bennison Creek catchments.
The Melbourne office of Australia-wide environmental and engineering consultancy firm Engeny was commissioned in May 2017 to conduct the Stockyard and Bennison Creek Flood Mapping project, which also involved two rounds of community consultation
The Stockyard and Bennison Creek Flood Study was completed in June 2019 and was presented to the Shire.