In recognition of the importance of the Torbay catchment to local residents and the people of the south coast for its fishing, farming, tourism and conservation values, the Torbay Catchment Group formed following interest generated at a community meeting at Elleker Hall in March 1999. The Torbay Catchment Group, in partnership with the Department of Environment, was successful in its application for funding through the National Rivers Consortium as one of two demonstration catchments in Australia. This became the Watershed Torbay project which commenced in 2001. More information on the Watershed Torbay project can be found on the Completed projects page.
The main goal of the Watershed Torbay project was to develop an understanding of catchment processes through research and community consultation, leading to the preparation of a whole of catchment management plan for the restoration of environmental health values, particularly for waterways and wetlands. This became the Watershed Torbay Restoration Plan which was completed in 2005. The Restoration Plan can be downloaded from the Resources page. Through the Watershed Torbay project the group’s vision and mission were agreed upon and are still values which guide the group.
The Greater Torbay Catchment
As a result of the interest shown by communities around Princess Royal Harbour in workshops help by Torbay Catchment Group in 2013, it was decided to extend the coverage of the group to these areas so that they could benefit from all the activities of the group. It was also logical to include all of the West Cape Howe National Park and Torndirrup National Park. These additional areas do not form part of any other recognised catchment area; their drainage lines are short and flow directly to the coast.
The expanded area is now referred to as the Greater Torbay Catchment.
The National Riverprize
In 2006, following the launch of the Watershed Torbay Restoration Plan, the Torbay Catchment Group together with the Department of Water made a winning application for the National Riverprize. The restoration plan along with the data collected to compile this comprehensive document formed the basis of the application. This information along with the collaborative approach used to compile the restoration plan made for a stand-out application.