Management plans are being developed for historic drainage networks in the North East with the insight of long-term property owners.
The Rural Drainage Project is being delivered by the North East Catchment Management authority, as part of a state government strategy.
NECMA was awarded $270,000 to work with property owners to identify assets and work on ways to improve them, as it's recognised by the state that "management of dryland rural drainage systems in the area lacks co-ordination and assets are in poor condition".
The Carlyle Drain is among those in focus, beginning at the Victoria Swamp and emptying into the Murray River via Royce Schmidt's property off Up River Road.
The fourth-generation farmer said concrete drop structures were installed in the channel in the 1960s to slow the flow of water, but in recent decades its management had fallen to him.
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"When 10,000 pounds was given to Indigo Shire Council, they organised the whole works," he said.
"You have to break the flow down, otherwise it just takes everything with it.
"During the really wet years it is 10 or 12 feet deeper; the water backs up and then it gets silted.
"It's nowhere near as big as it used to be."
Property owners like Mr Schmidt, around the five key drainage systems at Gooramadda, Carlyle, Norong, Brimin and Boorhaman East, have been passing on information at meetings held with NECMA's project officer Phil Falcke.
"We are currently gathering information on these drainage systems including their extent, management histories, infrastructure, and required maintenance, which will assist us to work with relevant landowners and agencies to develop Drainage Management Plans," he said.
"It is recognised there are areas where landholders would like to more actively manage the drains.
"The drainage management plans, if adopted, will enable maintenance works to be carried out more readily when needed."
The works follow an inquiry into rural drainage, and the final report from 2013 traced back many works to the Black Dog Creek Improvement District and Trust establish in 1969.
Management of the Black Dog Creek drainage area was taken over by NECMA in 1997, but due to a bylaw expiring in 2006 NECMA were "no longer able to issue approvals ... and drainage works in the area can now occur in an unregulated manner".
Of the eight drainage schemes in the North East, most were former swamps drained for agricultural production, the most significant being the 1160 acres of the Greta Swamp reclaimed by the-then Oxley Shire in the 1890s and the Black Dog Drainage area.
A submission to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee inquiry by the-then Department of Sustainability and Environment stated the drainage schemes in Black Dog Creek area had sustained considerable damage in the 2010 and 2011 Victorian floods.
The intention of the Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy is in part to "clarify the roles, responsibilities and obligations for landholders and government agencies to manage dryland rural drainage"