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Reflections on the Waterway Management Twinning Program

Lisa DuncanLisa Duncan, April 2017

Hello RBMS members and committee, firstly I’d like to thank you for your kindness and generosity in supporting my participation in the Waterway Management Twinning Program #twinningiswinning

The Twinning Program is a structured mentoring program, focusing on improving the on-ground delivery of current Victorian riparian restoration projects. It’s collaboratively delivered by Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Australian River Restoration Centre. The Twinning Program is based on industry-based mentoring principles and practices, with these tailored for the natural resources management sector.

When I applied for this program and scholarship I was asked how I’d feel if I was accepted into the program, I wrote “nervous because I expect to be pushed out of my comfort zone”. That was certainly the case when I attended the first workshop in February, I guessed I wasn’t getting a three day holiday in Warrnambool for nothing and fully expected waterway management bootcamp, to be pushed to my limits, broken down and rebuilt as a waterway management superhero, ready to re-join the workplace ready to drive change with new-found power and influence bestowed upon me by my new mentor…

In reality, I found a great group of relaxed, approachable people who were all there to support each other and share ideas and have a laugh. The first workshop of the twinning program is all about the ‘why’. Why you’re there followed by how you’re going to achieve your goals and lastly what you’re going to work on. This is sometimes difficult for people (including myself) to do, we tend to start with the what first. This was certainly also the case for my mentor who arrived ready to get into the nitty gritty details of the project we were going to work on over the next 12 months and was sorely disappointed when we spent three days getting to know each other and building the foundation for our mentoring partnership instead! I did realise by the end of the workshop why it had been done this way – lots of mentoring partnerships fail because you get too caught up in getting a particular project done and it becomes more about the project than the process of mentoring which is the critical part and will be more valuable in the long run. I’ll leave it there, if you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about you might need to put your hand up for next year so that you can also learn about the ‘why’. Big thanks to Siwan Lovett and Lucy Cameron for organising an awesome first workshop, looking forward to the next.

P.S Stay tuned for a project on reintroduction of Southern pygmy perch and Freshwater catfish in Barmah Forest – the ‘what’ coming soon.


Lisa Duncan, of Goulburn-Broken CMA has been selected as the successful candidate for the RBMS mentee position in 2017. Lisa’s project ‘Native fish improvement in Barmah Forest’ aims to better understand distribution, abundance and habitat preferences and identify new options for management and monitoring of native fish in The Living Murray Icon Site Barmah-Millewa Forest.