Blackwater update - final

Blackwater from the Goulburn River is now entering the Murray River.

  • No fish deaths have been reported in the Goulburn downstream of McCoy’s Bridge. It is expected that as the blackwater flows into the Murray there will be minimal impact on aquatic animals as the Murray’s flows are stronger and the blackwater will be diluted. However, there will be some discolouration and a change in water quality.
  • Dissolved oxygen levels in the lower Goulburn River are continuing to improve as the environmental water delivered since Sunday from Goulburn Weir and via channels mixes with the blackwater.
  • River levels have started to rise as the delivery of environmental water increases as releases from Eildon reach the Goulburn Weir. The river height will increase by about 1m over the next few days.
  • People may continue to see dead fish in some sections of the Goulburn River and potentially into the Murray River as they are washed downstream.
  • Unfortunately the forecast hot weather and poor water quality may result in further deaths of fish and other aquatic animals.
  • The ongoing monitoring of native fish tagged as part of a program we’re conducting with Arthur Rylah Institute, Fisheries Victoria, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, MDBA and other agencies, will help determine any potential long-term impacts of this event.
  • Goulburn Broken CMA is also considering an environmental water delivery along the lower Goulburn River in early autumn to encourage yellow belly to migrate from the Murray River into the Goulburn River.
  • The blackwater is not due to an environmental water delivery; it is a result of debris-rich run-off from tributaries including Castle, Pranjip and Seven creeks and the Broken River that entered the Goulburn River after more than 100mm of rain fell across parts of the catchment on December 29.
  • The amount of environmental water that can be delivered is limited by river operations and the need to share channel and river capacity with water users such as irrigators and town supplies.
  • The community is encouraged to report fish deaths to the EPA on 1300 372 842.
  • Town drinking water is safe. Please visit the Goulburn Valley Water website for more information.