Stephen Powell returned to Geelong last year after living and working in Aboriginal communities in Far North Queensland. He is headed north again soon. After nearly 10 years away he had hoped to find his beloved Moorabool River in better condition than he had left it given at least a small environmental allocation had been secured for it. He visited his old fishing spots and found them devoid of the species that he once knew them for. He contacted People for a Living Moorabool to tell of his distress at the condition of the river.
These are his words.
My name is Steve Powell I have lived in Batesford for most of my life where the lower reaches of the Moorabool run through.
I would like to share with everyone the close links many people from all walks of life have had with this once magnificent river and the relationship the Moorabool River has with people's lives.
As a boy this river was my playground, fished and explored every nook and cranny of the Moorabool through and beyond Batesford. To be honest it is part of my soul and in a way created the person I am today.
But over the past 30 years I have watched it die due to massive demands placed on this beautiful river and to, in my view, the mismanagement of many government departments who exploited rather than looked after it.
There were plenty of favourite spots through Batesford where many people gathered to swim, fish, and just enjoy the beauty of the Moorabool River.
But for many years it would stop flowing and great sections became too dry too often. The fish life in these sections are all but gone from what I enjoyed as a boy. These large lengths were bone dry for many years in a row, breaking the link to upstream reaches and stopping migration of many species to the sea which they needed to spawn.
When I was young the quality of fishing in the Moorabool River brought a smile to my face, but now in these sections many species are dead. The once massive migration of eel elvers I once watched as a boy are gone. They were in their hundreds of thousands. It is enough to make you cry.
In my view the once magnificent Moorabool River will never return to its former glory and I have grave fears for its future.
Steve Powell January 2020