Natalie Stalenberg

Natalie Stalenberg

Natalie Stalenberg, Australia

After completing a Bachelor of Environmental Management at Flinders University in South Australia, Natalie spent over 10 years working in various South Australian government agencies on water quality, water security, environmental flows and water allocation planning. Natalie later completed a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, which led her to the Murray Darling Basin Authority where she worked with Traditional Owner organisations on cultural water issues. Natalie joined Nature Foundation SA in June 2016 – the environmental charity’s 35th year. She is enjoying managing Nature Foundation’s Water for Nature program by using her policy, community engagement, and environmental management skills, and believes strongly in sharing the program’s learning with others.

Presentation title: When the river runs high: two case studies illustrating how an environmental watering program responds to a high river

The Water for Nature program, initiated by Nature Foundation SA in 2008, has delivered 4.56 GL of Commonwealth environmental water to 35 wetlands and floodplains over three years in Australia’s largest and most diverse river system the Murray-Darling Basin.

To achieve this, by no means small feat – we enlisted the help of over 200 volunteers. Water for Nature works closely with private landholders, irrigators, farmers, and community organisations. Our goal is to develop and grow a strong, passionate, independent community of practice that has an increasing capacity to deliver environmental water to wetlands and floodplains. Our program fosters interactions between different individuals and groups, and encourages the sharing of knowledge. But where it is needed we provide a support service to overcome hurdles that others cannot.

Nature Foundation SA believes that governments, and organisations like ours, cannot save the river on our own. We need a community that values environmental water, and incorporates caring for wetlands and floodplains into their everyday lives. But are all of our values for freshwater systems reflected in public policy?

Our experience has inspired irrigation trusts and other non-government organisations to start their own environmental watering programs. More initiatives like Water for Nature can only benefit the river, its wetland and floodplains and the communities that depend on it in many different ways. This presentation will focus on how we get the most unlikely individuals and groups to support and participate in environmental watering activities.

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