overview

Riparian (ry-pair-ee-uhn): Essentially it means the bed and banks of a river. Riparian vegetation = riverbank vegetation. Riparian rights = the legal rights people have over the riverbank.

Riparian land - cross-section illustration by Jen Rae

Did you know that livestock grazing in rivers is one of the biggest barriers to improving river health in Victoria?

The Riparian Project is a public art initiative that aims to influence a shift in grazing practices in Victoria to improve river health. We design and build public artworks in conjunction with rural communities across Victoria to inspire and create a new way of thinking about riparian grazing.

Riparian Grazing comparison

Grazed to left, ungrazed to right of fence line. Press image to enlarge. Photo Peter Solness

The grazing of stock in rivers and along riparian land (beds and banks of rivers) is the primary cause of poor river health in Australia. Grazing destroys habitat for native plants and animals, leading to species loss. Unrestricted cattle grazing causes water quality and contamination issues including algal blooms, soil compaction, the dispersal of exotic species and the spreading of water-borne pathogens.  Stock trample, defecate and die in waterways.

The Riparian Project uses art as a communication tool to raise awareness and public concern about the problem of riparian grazing and inspire a change in grazing practices. Ultimately, it aims to influence government policy.

The Riparian Project is run by three people with a passion for living sustainably and river health. With over 25 years of combined experience, the project team comprises Nicola Rivers (an environmental lawyer), Amanda Wealands (a waterway engineer) and led by Dr Jen Rae (an interdisciplinary artist). All members of the project team are alumni from The Centre for Sustainability Leadership (2009) where The Riparian Project originated.

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