Anatomy of a Landcare Project - Araluen Creek Restoration Project 2021-2023

In May 2021, Upper Deua Catchment Landcare embarked on a large-scale erosion control project along the Araluen Creek. This page provides a summary of all the key documents and steps taken by the group to complete the project - from engaging landholders and project officers, to conducting a Review of Environmental Factors, as well as the relevant grant and funding agreements.

The Build up to the Project...

Back in 2014, Local Land Services generated a report aiming to provide a stream rehabilitation plan for waterways within the area of interest to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group – including Araluen Creek and major tributaries, including recommended actions for the next 5 – 10 years.

The report outlined the topography, climate, geology, ground water, vegetation, historical and current land use in the Araluen Valley, as well as an assessment of the physical condition of waterways and erosion within the catchment. 

This plan provided the group with direction for on-ground projects and areas to target for stream bank and bed erosion. According to assessment at the time, the condition of the Araluen Creek and its tributaries transitioned from ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ condition downstream of the Neringla Road crossing.The map below highlights the problem areas identified for stream bank erosion (red lines), many of which were exacerbated by subsequent 2019-20 bushfires and extreme rain events 2020-22.

Map of Araluen Creek Catchment and identified erosion areas along the waterways © State of New South Wales through Local Land Services, 2014.

Submitting the Application...

After the devastating Black Summer bushfires in November of 2020 Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group began preparations for submitting an application for the  Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund. The group received Letters of Support their applications from various agencies, including Local Land Services, Soil Conservation Service and the district Landcare network.

Having submitted the application, it was announced in May 2021 the group was successful in receiving $290,000 to support the recovery of the Araluen Creek and its tributaries to its confluence with the Deua River.

Flooding along the Araluen Creek after the Black Summer Bushfires. Photo: C Harrison

The Work Begins...

Over the next 3-4 months, extensive planning was undertaken. Stakeholders and a local Community Liaison officer were engaged and local landholders were given the opportunity to submit an EOI to participate in the project. 

During this time, Upper Deua Catchment Landcare reached out to the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council (the umbrella group which offers support to Landcare groups across the district) seeking support to deliver some of the community engagement aspects of the project, including the producing a project video and educational workshop series. The Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council welcomed the opportunity and engaged a project officer to support the group:

In the spring 2021, Upper Deua Catchment Landcare began the process of evaluating sites along the Araluen Creek and identifying target areas for erosion control. A contractor was engaged to conduct a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) at the proposed sites for in-stream works. The REF was required to enable Local Land Services, in conjunction with Soil Conservation Service, to assess, prioritise and install erosion control structures along the Araluen Creek and it's tributaries.

After the REF was in place, Soil Conservation Service‘s Lyall Boggie performed a preliminary site inspection along the Araluen Creek. He identified 13 key sites needing immediate erosion remediation and provided cost estimates for earthworks required. 

The first information session for the Araluen Creek Restoration Project on Sunday 18th July2021. Photo: R Cavalier

The Setbacks set in...

After a productive start to the project, Upper Deua Catchment Landcare experienced significant delays hampering project delivery. COVID-19 and public health restrictions prohibited workshops. Multiple extreme rain events caused severe flooding and landslips on the Araluen Road, restricting access to the Valley. The ground was so sodden, there was no chance of getting machinery anywhere near the creek to begin ground works and tubestock which had been delivered on time were benched - kept alive and re-potted over the next 9-10 months. Due to the unprecedented conditions, the group applied for multiple grant variations and were granted extensions.

Progress began again with the roll out of the educational workshop series in February 2022. The first topic - on the geology of the catchment presented by Leah Moore from the Australian National University - kicked off a series of great events focusing on looking after waterways, managing weed threats and native revegetation techniques.

The in-steam works, livestock fencing and installation of alternative water sources began in earnest toward the end of the 2022 and rolled out over the next 6 months. It was agreed Soil Con would perform the major in-stream works and a contract agreement between agencies was signed.

The final on ground activity involved planting over 2000 tubestock across the various sites, with multiple community tree-planting hosted in the Autumn of 2023. 

Volunteers help plant over 420 tubestock on farm site in April 2022. Photo: E Brinkley

Wrapping up the Project...

After the in-stream works and tree plantings were complete, the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Committee had the challenging job of finalizing the project. Secretary Penny Hayman and Treasurer Robyn Clubb worked hard to completed and submit the final grant reports and financial acquittal, as well as contacting landholders of the projects conclusion.

Publicity of the project began. Upper Deua Catchment Landcare showcased the project at the South East Landcare Regional Muster in Bungendore and the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council offered assistance with the presentation, as well as loading relevant project information onto the Landcare NSW gateway website and finalizing the project video

To celebrate the completion of the Project Upper Deua Catchment Landcare hosted an afternoon tea and premiere of the project video on Saturday 9 September 2023. They've invited locals and Landcarers from across the region, including special guests Turlough Guerin, CEO of Landcare NSW, Steve Whan, MP for Monaro, Kendrick Winchester, mayor Queanbayen-Palerang Regional Council, Rebecca Ryan, General Manager QPRC, as well as QPRC Councillor Katrina Willis.

Top left: Uper Deua Catchment Landcare Group at the Araluen Federal Hall in July 2021. Top right: local filmmaker Clare Young and Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Project Officer Clare Henderson filming Soil Con's Lyall Boggie. Bottom: Screen grab of Project video. Photos: R Cavalier, C Harrison, C Young.


The Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group wishes to take this opportunity to thank all our local volunteers and supporters who have generously assisted and participated in meetings, workshops and revegetation of sites as part of the Araluen Creek Restoration Project.

Volunteers from Braidwood Home School Group attend Araluen tree planting on 30 May 2023. Photo: J Knowles

Summary of Key Documents


Useful Documents

December 2020

April - May 2021

June 2021

July 2021

August - September 2021

October 2021 

November -

December 2021   

July 2022  

August 2022

September 2022

October 2022

May 2023

June 2022

July 2023

 This is a Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement