Dr Deborah Nias, Chief Executive Officer

Deborah is a professional natural resource manager with a PhD in floodplain wetlands and 15 years experience in water and landscape management.

Between 2001 and 2009, Deborah was the Senior Program Manager for the former NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group Inc. and led an award winning team in implementing the Murray Wetlands Working Group Strategic Plan within the Murray Valley, including delivery of environmental water for eight years. In 2009, she took on the role of CEO with Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group and is responsible for the establishment and management of the Company. In addition, she has facilitated environmental water projects within the Lower Murray Darling and initiated the Water Trust Alliance with other key NGOs.

She is a Peter Cullen Trust Fellow (2010), a Churchill Fellow (2011), a former facilitator for AWA Specialist Network of Environmental Water Managers, on the Water Advisory Committee for Nature Foundation SA, on the Advisory Board for RiverSmart, an Ambassador for the International RiverFoundation and a former Director of Wetland Care Australia.

Sarah Ning, Project Officer

Sarah began her professional career as an Environmental Water Reserve Officer and later as the Waterways Project Officer – Wetlands with the North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) in 2005, after completing First Class Honours for her BSc in Environmental Management and Ecology (La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga Campus) in 2004 on Seed Bank Viability of Floodplain Wetlands – Lake Hume to Barmah.

During her seven years with NECMA, her major responsibilities included developing and overseeing the implementation of the Regional Wetland Strategy; engaging with the community on wetlands, their management and environmental flow issues; coordinating and providing support of environmental input into Bulk Entitlements, Stream Flow Management Plans, Groundwater Management Plans and the Sustainable Water Strategy. She was responsible for monitoring and reporting on environmental conditions, including identifying environmental water requirements of target ecosystems. She has developed water resource management policies and practices, as well as project proposals and was also a representative on various Department of Sustainability and Environment committees.

Sarah commenced as a Project Officer in August 2012 working on the Murray Wetland Carbon Storage project. This project will revegetate and rehabilitate wetlands on private property in the NSW Murray Catchment to act as biodiverse carbon stores.

(l to r): Sarah Ning, Deborah Nias and Rhonda Sinclair

Rick Webster, Senior Environmental Water Manager 

Prior to commencing work with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group in mid-February 2016, Rick Webster spent five years working as a Senior Rehabilitation Officer – Water for NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS). His primary responsibility was managing water including environmental water on parks estate within the Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray Valleys. This included planning the delivery of e-water in partnership with the Office of Environment & Heritage South West Environmental Water & Floods Team; monitoring the delivery of water to the parks estate including ensuring the appropriate operation of water management infrastructure; and monitoring the ecological responses to water inundating parks estate (including managing ‘The Living Murray’ (TLM) condition monitoring and intervention monitoring programs for the Barmah-Millewa Forest and conducting waterbird surveys as part of Long Term Intervention Monitoring Program for the Murrumbidgee River).

Additional responsibilities while working for NSW NPWS included undertaking fauna surveys as part of the domestic firewood program, south-west NSW grazing study and ecological thinning program; providing expert advice on threatened species issues within Western Rivers Region of NSW NPWS; managing the annual community Superb Parrot population count within Gulpa precinct of Murray Valley National Park; and mentoring junior staff.

Between 1987 and 2011, Rick was the managing director of Ecosurveys Pty Ltd, an environmental consulting firm based in Deniliquin, NSW. The company specialised in fauna and flora work. During this period contracts were completed in the following areas: Threatened species (Bush Stone-curlew, Plains-wanderer, Regent Parrot, Superb Parrot, Large Forest Owls, Regent Honeyeater) surveys across south-eastern Australia; Terrestrial bird surveys throughout the forests of eastern NSW; Conducting flora and fauna assessments for developments within NSW and Victoria; Mapping wetlands across the southern Riverina; Assessing environmental values of Travelling Stock Reserves across the Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys; Monitoring the ecological responses and flood extent of e-water events (Werai Forest) and natural floods (Wanganella Swamp); Producing a management plan for Wanganella Swamp; and Conducting quarterly terrestrial and waterbird monitoring within the Gunbower-Koondrook-Perricoota Forest as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority TLM condition monitoring program.

Rick Webster