Michael Shanahan has lived at Tidbinbilla Station Farm since he was a young kid. For most of that time the Tidbinbilla River has peacefully trickled through the property, but all that changed eight years ago.
In 2012, heavy downpours decimated the creek. Floods eroded the river banks and took out trees, fences and even threatened the house. What was left was a dry, rocky and sandy landscape, a far cry from the lively river it once was.
Before the flood, Mr Shanahan would have laughed off any suggestion that water would disappear from the catchment, even in the millennium drought there was water, but the "big event" as he refers to it, changed everything.
"When I was younger this was a beautiful little creek, it used to meander and sway through here and it was stunning," he said.
"Everything was nice and then we had that one big event in 2012 and basically it changed the system overnight."
The erosion means the river system now struggles to hold water, particularly during times of drought, but Mr Shanahan wants to change that. He has employed the Mulloon Institute to revive a 1500-metre stretch of the river and get the water running again, with the project currently the subject of a development application.
The Mulloon Institute is widely known for its work in regenerating landscapes. The advocacy and research organisation runs Mulloon Creek Natural Farms 40 minutes' drive east of Canberra.
They do this through employing natural interventions, to create a "chain of ponds", taking the river system back to its natural state before European settlement.
While the organisation has been doing work for many years just outside the ACT, this is the first proposed "on-ground" project in territory borders.
Peter Hazell, the project coordinator of the Mulloon Institute, is spearheading the rehabilitative project at Tidbinbilla. The application proposes to install 14 major in-stream grade-control structures, colloquially known as leaky weirs, along with 11 minor "rock bar" structures.
"These will start to bring the level of the stream bed up again and provide the opportunity for vegetation to reestablish within the channel of the stream," said Mr Hazell.
"There is no opportunity for vegetation to reestablish itself, and left to its own devices it will remain degraded for years to come.
"The work we are proposing to do which is the subject of a development application is looking to help the system out. It's a bit like heart bypass surgery in a way where you go in and put some interventions in the system."
When the rock weirs are installed, Mr Hazell said it would allow for the system to hold water for longer periods of time, and make the river more resilient in times of drought.
"Imagine a bathtub that's full of water and you pull the plug out of the bathtub and it drains out, that's exactly what happens in these floodplain pockets," he said.
"The plug gets pulled out at the bottom end and then they erode all the soil and nutrients and all the water dries out like it would drain out of a bathtub.
"So you have no water in the system to keep it alive during dry times."
Although the structures are natural and use materials already on the land, any work the Mulloon Institute does must go through a works application process. Mr Hazell said the "red tape" posed a barrier for their work across the country.
Before the physical work has even started, Mr Shanahan said he had to pay about $20,000 worth of fees.
"That's $20,000 we could spend on actually doing the work," he said.
"This is an erosion event and all we are trying to do, using the local materials that are already here is reverse some of the erosion."
Mr Shanahan said the fees were a deterrent, but luckily he was awarded a grant from the ACT government for the project.
"If I hadn't of gotten that, would I have done it? I don't know," he said.
The public consultation period for the development application closes on November 22. Mr Hazell said if the application is approved it should only take a matter of weeks to complete the on-ground work.