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Making a positive difference in our community

The  Yarra Riverkeeper Association is hosting one of our biggest events ever – over 150 volunteers! We have recently been asked to host a corporate volunteering event by an international company. What’s exciting about these events and this one, in particular, is the net benefit for the area that we will be generating awareness about through walk and talks, cleaning up litter in the area, auditing litter, and planting! 

Do keep up with our social media channels for updates on the event. We will be posting photos with our volunteers as well as pictures of the area we will be planting over 400 plants

If you have any corporate volunteering enquiries, please contact us, we are more than happy to accommodate any group for a fun and fulfilling day. Send an email to

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Annual General Meeting, 17 October

This year our AGM is something special.

At 6 pm we will be sharing some craft brews from Urban Alley Brewery at Cam’s Cafe at the Abbotsford Convent. This is open to the public. There is a free beer if you are a member so do join up. In any case, come along to the start of the AGM and hear Head Brewer of Urban Alley, Shaya Rubinstein, explain to us why Melbourne’s water is so good for making craft beers. The talk is open to the public and if you are a member of the Association or you have just joined do stay for the AGM and learn what we are doing for your river.

If you are unable and a member to attend we would be very appreciative if you could fill out a proxy form (click here to download) and nominate our president Christopher Balmford as your proxy for the AGM.

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Keep Victoria Beautiful Award!

We are delighted that the #YarraRiverBlitz, proudly supported by the State Government of Victoria and Melbourne Water, was awarded the Keep Victoria Beautiful ‘Clean Beach/Waterways Award -Community-‘. In partnership with Cleanwater Group we’ve removed over 30,000 kg of waste from the Yarra River! This project would not be possible without the fantastic support of our Yarra Riverkeeper Association Members, the Yarra River community, our Sponsors and Partners. See below the video that announced the Yarra River Blitz as the winner of the Clean Beach/Waterways Community Award.


We would also like to thank everyone who played a part in making this event a success. Thanks to Cleanwater Group, DELWP PortPhillip , Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, Cleanaway, Sea Kayak Australia, Kayak Melbourne, Aquayak Kayaks, Paddle Victoria State Sporting Organisation, Trash Puppets, Richmond Rowing Club, Melbourne University Boat Club, the plastic runner, BeachPatrol3934, Footscray City Rowing Club, Wesley College, Melbourne Girls College Sustainability Collective , Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, Stonnington City Council, Yarra City Council, City of Melbourne, City of Boroondara, Melbourne City Marina, Ecopella, Inflatable Regatta, Genovese Coffee, Beantomelbourne, Ludlow Bar & Dining Room, Red Rock Venues, Riverland Bar, Arbory Bar and Eatery, Practical Ecology Pty Ltd

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Launch of Ethos Urban Report and Seminar

Please join us for a very informative morning on the 19 September with the launch of the Ethos Urban Report and a seminar as part of our Seminar Series. We will have industry experts who will discuss important subjects relating to the report.

Urban waterways are being squeezed by the urbanization and developments along creeks and rivers. One tool to help protect our waterways is the Planning System. The Yarra Riverkeeper commissioned a report from leading urban planner Ethos Urban on how to better protect our urban waterways from inappropriate development, thanks to funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. Our seminar, delivered by leading experts, explains how the planning system works, the meaning of the special language of planning, and provides tools to help you make better submissions and challenge inappropriate development. The seminar introduces the Ethos Urban report Protecting Urban Waterways. a tool that should be in every community groups library. No community group on a waterway, or in fact on a coastline or a lake, can afford to miss this presentation. The presentation is valuable to any community group dealing with the wrong sort of development.

Please register here: Launch of Ethos Urban Report and Seminar

Location: The Chamber – Hawthorn Arts Centre

Time and Date: 19 September at 10:00 AM

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Yarra River Blitz – 25 August

Join the Yarra Riverkeeper Association and Cleanwater Group for our 5th Yarra River Blitz proudly supported by Melbourne Water and the Victorian Government. We’ll provide some boats, bags, gloves, and safety gear so you can BLITZ-CLEAN and LOVE YOUR RIVER and PARKLANDS!

Where: Richmond Rowing Club, 1 Boathouse Drive, Melbourne
When: Sunday 25 August 2019
Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Schedule of events:
10:15 -10:30 Introduction & Safety Briefing
10:45 -12:30 Yarra River Clean-up
12:30 – 1:00 BBQ & Prizes

Getting to Richmond Rowing Club:
Bike: Main Yarra Trail
Car: Enter via Boathouse Drive, free all day parking available along Boathouse Drive
Public Transport: Flinders Street Station 5 min walk away
Bring: Layers for varying temps and the splash of your paddle, gloves, water bottle, hat, sunscreen
Provided: Some boats*, bags, safety gear, sausage sizzle @ gold coin donation

* Yarra Riverkeeper Association members get first dibs to canoes and kayaks. Join here: Keep in mind, if you don’t secure a boat, local parklands and riverbanks have troves of trash to collect!
No need to print your tickets


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Yarra Atlas Seminar June 26

Hello everyone!

We have booked the 26 of June, from 10:00am to 1:30pm at the Parkview Room in Camberwell to show everyone our exclusive first look at the Yarra Catchment Atlas portal. On the day we will have our IT expert Birgita Hansen explaining the technical aspects of the Atlas. The Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly and the Yarra Atlas Officer Anton Tejeda will be telling the history of the Atlas and why everyone agreed that it was necessary to create such an Atlas.

Nibbles and coffee will be provided on the day. The location is easily accessible by PT (tram #75 and train at Camberwell Station), however. there is parking available.

See you there!

Link to Eventbrite: Yarra Atlas Seminar

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Atlas logo

We are building an atlas of the Yarra Catchment  – a one-stop shop for spatial data on the Yarra and its watershed. We are working with CeRDI at Federation University, which is a treat. It is a huge undertaking and Anton, our Atlas Officer, has been labouring away for months. So it is exciting to now have an official log for the project. Here it is: Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 10.55.31 AM

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Release of the State of the Yarra report

On Wednesday (20 March 2019), the Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability released the State of the Yarra Report. This report is required under the Yarra River Protection (Willip-gin Birrarung murrain) legislation which was passed unanimously in September 2017. We welcome the report and congratulate the Commissioner, Gillian Sparkes, and the lead writer Dr Rebecca Koss on the quality and clarity of the report. The report clear shows the pressure that the Yarra River is now under from the threats of urbanisation, population expansion (Melbourne is the fourth fastest growing river in the developed world), and a drying climate. The report card at the start of the report shows too many red dots for poor and too many grey dots for the status of the threat to be unknown, and too many being recorded as being derived from insufficient data. We need to know more about our Yarra and we need to act to protect and improve it. We are asking the Andrews’ government to accept these recommendations as a matter of urgency. The report notes that creating connected habitat corridors will protect critical ecosystems, The Riverkeeper will publish in the near future a report addressing this issue and looking at improved stewarding of the river along the lines of the rewilding ideas promoted in the US and UK of core and corridor, with protected cores connected by healthy ecological corridors. Looking at the report card, what stands out glaringly to us is:

  • Only two indicators (6%) are assessed as ‘improving’.
  • 16 of the 25 environmental health indicators (64%) have been assessed as in a ‘poor’ state with a deteriorating trend.

The Minster is required to respond to this report in 12 months but we are hoping the Minister will act earlier than that as the needs of our river are urgent, and implement the recommendations in particular we note the following as the recommendation reflects what we ask for from government at the last election:

Recommendation 5: That DELWP, in collaboration with Melbourne Water and local governments, extend the geographical scope of the current interim Yarra River Protection Planning Controls (Amendment GC48) along the Yarra River corridor ranging from Warrandyte to the boundary of the Yarra Ranges National Park in support of appropriate urban development.



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