Flood risk mitigation – Phragmites demonstration site

Flood risk mitigation – Restoring eroded riverbanks with revegetation

Flood risk mitigation – Phragmites demonstration site

Flood risk mitigation – Restoring eroded riverbanks with revegetation

Collaborations -


The issue

Modern day river system management has led to significant changes in the hydrology of our rivers and creeks from pre-colonisation states of flow. The introduction of European Carp has dramatically impacted ecosystem health, with up to 80-90% of fish biomass in waterways now made up of carp. Their feeding and behavioural patterns damage native vegetation, reduce resources for native fish and destabilise riverbanks.

This destabilisation is exacerbated by river system management and increases the susceptibility of damage to river and creek banks, especially during high stress periods such as floods and high rivers.

The solution

Landcare NSW's People Led Prevention project empowers communities across regional NSW in developing disaster resilience and preparedness skills. The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments.

Planting locally sourced Phragmites australis along a section of eroded riverbank in the local area will provide a working demonstration site to measure the benefits of planting native vegetation along waterways to stabilise bank systems. Phragmites australis has a mat-like root system, making it ideal to stabilise fragile banks. The plants will also help collect sediment, slowly rebuilding eroded banks.

Community identification of the site has increased interest in the demonstration and previous reference photos showing the rate of erosion will be used to measure the success of the remediation works. Engaging local Barapa Barapa Peoples to complete the works has allowed for their local knowledge to be utilised and applied to a local issue.

Through funding available from the NSW People Led Prevention Project, there is an opportunity to utilise Traditional Owner knowledge and experience to remediate highly eroded sections of riverbank using locally endemic riparian vegetation. Building on this knowledge, and from other successful remediation projects using Phragmites on the Murray River, we can apply these tools to an identified degraded area. Restoring degraded riverbanks will increase the resilience of our waterways to withstand increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters such as floods.

The impact

Phragmites australis were locally sourced and planted by local Barapa Barapa Peoples along a section of highly eroded riverbank on the Murray River near Barham NSW. The site has been established to be a demonstration on how revegetation of eroded waterways can improve the condition of river and creek banks in our catchment area. This site is along a publicly accessible river track and will allow for easy access for continued monitoring. The history of photos showing the rate of erosion will provide a useful reference for the success of the demonstration site.

Key facts

  • Over 600 Phragmites rhizomes planted
  • Local Barapa Barapa Peoples engaged
  • Existing photographs of the site showing erosion to use as a reference
  • Longevity of the site as a point of reference demonstrating remediation works
  • Locally found vegetation species used
  • Increases waterway resilience to damage from natural disasters such as severe floods

Project Partners