River health grants celebrate community contributions to healthy waterways

Environmental community groups across Melbourne have shared in more than $780,000 of community grants, thanks to Melbourne Water’s River Health Incentives Program148 grants were awarded to support more than 140 not-for-profit community groups to complete works along rivers and creeks and raise awareness of the importance of healthy waterways.

Grants of up to $20,000 were available to support a range of activities on public land along waterways, including weed control and revegetation. Grants of up to $1000 were available to help volunteer groups with costs such as administrative activities and training.

Melbourne Water General Manager Waterways and Land, Tim Wood, said healthy rivers and creeks helped maintain Melbourne’s status as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and volunteers were integral to this effort.

“Our research tells us people love waterways as places to exercise, relax, or catch up with family and friends,” said Mr Wood.

“Dedicated volunteers spend hundreds of hours removing weeds and litter and planting trees to improve waterway habitats for plants and animals, as well as making our rivers and creeks enjoyable places for Melburnians to visit.”

“Melbourne’s waterways are highly valued by the community as great places for recreation, to escape the hustle and bustle and to connect with nature.

“But it wasn’t always this way. Just a few decades ago many of Melbourne’s rivers and creeks were highly degraded through urban development and farming and industry practices of a bygone era.

“Much of the transformation we see today is due to the success of the partnerships we have forged with schools, the community, councils and land owners through the River Health Incentives Program.

"It has made an enormous difference in the health of waterways through its 21-year history and we are very proud of it.”

Notes to editors:

The Healthy Waterways Community Grants are part of Melbourne Water’s River Health Incentives Program, which provides funding to councils, schools, land holders and community groups to assist their works to protect and improve waterways.

Since the program began 21 years ago, it has provided more than 12,000 grants to over 4,600 participants at a total value of over $45 million.

To date the program has worked with more than 230 community groups, 38 councils and more than 4,300 individuals to protect and improve the health of our waterways. Some of the achievements include:

  • More than 3 million plants and trees planted to restore habitat
  • Tonnes of litter and weeds removed from waterways
  • More than 1,500 kilometres of fencing constructed to prevent livestock damaging sensitive river and creek systems. This work has restored waterways for a length equivalent to the distance from Melbourne to Byron Bay.

Community grant applications open once a year in October. Individual landholder applications are open year-round through the Stream Frontage Management Program and Rural Land Program. Councils and public land managers can apply throughout the year for Corridors of Green grants.

More information is available on the Get Involved pages or you can watch videos on the River Health Incentives Program and Community Grants Program

North East region
​Council area ​Number of grants Funding amount
​Banyule ​2 ​$1,396
​Boroondara ​3 ​$24,750
​Darebin ​1 $440
​Manningham ​5 ​$33,140
​Whitehorse ​1 ​$5,350
Yarra Ranges ​22 ​$82,859
​Stonnington ​1 $1,000
​Hobsons Bay ​2 ​$9,568
​Monash ​6 $22,135
​Nillumbik ​4 ​$16,740
​Yarra ​1 ​$19,984
​Cardinia ​2 ​$6,000


South East region
Council area Number of grants ​Funding amount
​Bass Coast ​1 ​$18,750
​Cardinia ​14 ​$89,806
​Casey ​3 ​$9,120
​Frankston ​4 ​$34,900
​Kingston ​4 ​$8,530
​Maroondah ​1 ​$1,000
​South Gippsland ​1 ​$400
​Mornington Peninsula ​11 ​$92,370
​Baw Baw ​1 ​$1,000
​Yarra Ranges ​8 ​$61,317
​French Elizabeth Island ​1 ​$400


West region
​Council area Number of grants Funding amount
​Brimbank ​6 ​$40,406
​Darebin ​1 ​$19,997
​Hobsons Bay ​5 ​$24,825
​Hume ​4 ​$5,794
Macedon Ranges ​9 ​$13,146
​Moreland ​3 ​$24,271
​Melton ​7 ​$35,525
​Greater Geelong ​1 ​$1,000
​Moonee Valley ​2 ​$10,980
​Moorabool ​3 ​$17,439
​Wyndham ​9 ​$46,954
Media contact
Josie Emanuel (03) 9679 7311; 0428 945 556