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View the 2023 Wise Water Ways Workshop Program

In 1999 the founding Wise Water Ways Committee believed there was a need for a training program that covered both practical and theoretical waterways management.

Today, the Wise Water Ways Workshop, North East Victoria, covers a broad range of rural and urban stream issues and provides participants with the skills to better understand aquatic environments and to make informed on-ground management decisions.

The format of the program offers participants an opportunity to work in teams, as they would in their work role. Each team develops a management plan for a stream and then presents a report to their group of peers for critical assessment.

2023 Speakers

Brooke Hermans

Community Engagement

Brooke has over 20 years strategic planning, management and stakeholder engagement experience in the public and private sectors. Her experience in natural resource and waste management sectors, where she has used her communication, leadership, facilitation, governance, and project development skills, has led her to support governing boards and community-based organisations to set strategy and attract significant investment. Since 2021, Brooke has been working in the private sector supporting community and stakeholder engagement, strategic planning and operational reviews for local and state government and other not-for-profits. Her recent work has provided experience in social and community planning, including work with CALD communities, people living with disability, landcare and on place-based community planning. With her roots firmly planted in the small north east Victorian town of Eldorado, Brooke values the natural beauty of regional areas and is passionate about empowering people to share their views and values to influence public decision making.

B.App.Sci, NRM (Hons)


Professor Nick Bond

Integrating Climate Change

Professor Nick Bond is the Director of the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems and Research Theme Lead for Resilient Environments and Communities, at La Trobe University. Nick has over 20 years’ experience working on river and catchment management, with a focus on Australia’s water-stressed regions. He has strong connections across the water sector and currently sits on a number of government advisory panels, including the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences.

Keynote Speaker – Jamie Simmonds

Keynote Address: Managed Retreat and Community Relocation in Flood-Prone Areas

Jamie Simmonds, an internationally renowned expert in the field of managed retreat and community relocation, hails from the United States but has made Australia, particularly Brisbane, his home. Jamie’s remarkable journey has captivated audiences worldwide, particularly individuals seeking inspiration and guidance in their own communities.

In 2011, Jamie directed the relocation of Grantham, an Australian town left devastated by catastrophic flash flooding that tragically claimed the lives of 19 people. Displaying exceptional leadership alongside the late Mayor Steve Jones, within just 12 month they saw the transition of over 100 families to new homes in a prosperous estate, situated on higher ground surrounding Grantham. Today, this relocation project is hailed as one of the most successful examples of managed retreat globally.

In 2020, Jamie documented the story in his book about the Grantham experience to show communities the positives and challenges associated with community relocation. Since then, communities, media organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies from every corner of the globe have reached out to Jamie for guidance. Seeking to understand how to rebuild communities in a safer and more resilient manner in a changing climate, they have recognized Jamie as an invaluable resource.

Jamie remains dedicated to assisting in the reconstruction endeavours of the Asia-Pacific region. Presently, Jamie is actively engaged in a community relocation program in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, collaborating closely with the Lismore community. This initiative was born out of the region’s devastating flooding in 2022, and Jamie’s involvement highlights their commitment to creating a brighter future for those affected.

With a rich background encompassing over 20 years in both government and the private sector, Jamie’s story serves as a testament to the incredible accomplishments governments can achieve when guided by visionary leadership, deep community engagement, and an unwavering spirit of hope.


Andrew Briggs

Field Projects and Construction Works

Andrew is the River Health Project Manager with the North East Catchment Management Authority. He has extensive experience in river health restoration, with a strong focus on native fish and the reintroduction of fish habitat into waterways. Over the last decade he has played a major role in project managing and implementing fire and flood recovery works across the catchment. Andrew applies his expertise and innovation to address challenges such as Biochar and Virtual Fencing.

Chris Dwyer

Skills in Action and Applying our new skills to the Ovens River (Field Trip)

Chris is a Waterway Management Practice and Director/Engineer of Confluence Pty Ltd .  He has been working in the industry for the past two decades and has extensive experience across New South Wales and Victoria, as well as numerous other projects spread around Australia. Chris’ key focus is the investigation, design and implementation of major river health programs.


Dr James Grove

Skills in Action and Making Spatial Data Work for You

James is a geomorphologist who uses GIS and field research to undertake research on riverbank erosion, arctic fluvial geomorphology, river condition assessment.

Ross Hardie

Onground Works : When to, when not to

Ross is a founder and director of Alluvium Consulting, a past president of the River Basin Management Society and an inaugural fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust. Ross has worked in both local and state government, but has spent most of his career in private consulting, working on Australian and international stream management projects and programs.

Jarod Lyon

What Fish Want

Jarod leads a team of researchers examining restoration ecology, ecological management plans and intervention based research that helps inform management and policy decisions. He has many years experience as a freshwater scientist, including restoration of woody habitat into rivers and streams, understanding the impact of bushfires on aquatic systems, threatened species management, angler liaison and developing ecological management plans.


Dr Jane Roots

Jane has been working in catchment management and river restoration In Australia since 1995. She worked for the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in Canberra for seven years where she was Manager of the Lake Victoria Project and later, Executive Officer of the Community Advisory Committee of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council. In 2002 Jane work for 3 years on floodplain restoration projects in South Australia that included the first River Red Gum watering project on the Chowilla Floodplain. She has since returned to North East Victoria to manage an inaugural River Tender project and in 2013 completed her PhD, whilst working on the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project with the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre. In 2015, Jane joined the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as Program Manager Biodiversity for the Hume Region.


Associate Professor Ian Rutherfurd

Wise Waterway Concepts

Ian Rutherfurd has 20 years experience in the water sector. At present he is an Associate Professor in the School of Natural  Resource Management and Geography in the University of Melbourne. He has also worked at a senior level in the Victorian State Govement in the water and river management area. Ian’s area’s of interest include river channel change, stream rehabilitation and fluvial geomorphology.


Dr Ewen Silvester

Monitoring Water Quality

Dr Ewen Silvester: Associate Professor in the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems (CFE) based at the Albury-Wodonga Campus of La Trobe University. Ewen’s research interests are in understanding biogeochemical processes in rivers and wetlands, particularly the patterns and responses of these systems to seasonal changes and climatic events.  He has broad interests in the development and application of new techniques and approaches to the investigation of aquatic ecosystems and how ecological processes influence (and are influenced by) water quality parameters. Ewen has a PhD in Physical Chemistry (University of Melbourne) and prior to his current position at La Trobe University worked at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS; France; 3 years) and CSIRO (10 years). He has published broadly in the fields of geochemistry, mineralogy, spectroscopy and aquatic ecology and has recently completed an 8-year term as Associate Editor with the Journal of Hydrology. Contact: or 02 6024 9878.

Jo Slijkerman

Skills in Action with Dr Sally Maxwell

Johanna is a scientist with over fifteen years’ experience in waterway management, monitoring and policy. She has completed field-based assessments of riparian areas around rivers and wetlands, monitoring design and management planning. She has provided flora and fauna input to projects; and designed and coordinated waterway condition monitoring programs which identify condition, trajectory and adaptive management approaches. She understands waterway processes and management methods, developed through working with a range of waterway engineers, geomorphologists, aquatic scientists and agency staff in Victoria and Tasmania.

Johanna also worked in DELWP’s water policy division for seven years and has a strong understanding of the policy and legislation framework and development process in Victoria.


Ben Tate

Go with the Flow (Hydrology / Hydraulics)

Ben is Water Technology’s National Practice Lead of Flooding. Ben has many years of experience in urban and rural floodplain management, working to protect the natural values of our rivers and floodplains and help flood prone communities to live safely on the floodplain. Ben often helps VICSES to respond to real flood events during emergencies, earning him the nickname of ‘Flood Man’ from his kids.


Dr Geoff Vietz

The Dirt on Managing Physical Form and Function

Dr Geoff Vietz is a geomorphologist and water management specialist with 18 years experience in catchment, river and wetland management. Geoff is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne where his research is focused on the geomorphology, ecohydraulics and sustainable management of streams and wetlands. He is also the principal of Streamology (, a consulting company focused on narrowing the research-consulting divide and ensuring novel and appropriate solutions are applied to waterway, wetland and water resources management.

Participation in the Wise Water Ways Workshop program offers delegates the opportunity to receive a subject credit towards a Charles Sturt University Master of Environmental Management (with specialisations):