Turtle

CMA responding to summer low flows

Thursday 7 January, 2010
The current string of very hot days has resulted in extremely high water temperatures in our streams which have resulted in a small number of local water quality issues, including some fish deaths.

The current string of very hot days has resulted in extremely high water temperatures in our streams which have resulted in a small number of local water quality issues, including some fish deaths.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority Cheif Executive Officer, Chris Norman said with warmer temperatures in the region, and those predicted over the next few months, water temperature may increase in many regional streams. The quality of water may be affected, and high water temperatures cause severe stress in fish and other stream fauna.

Mr Norman said that the authority has already responded to a fish death in the Boosey Creek, prior to Christmas, fortunately only affecting exotic pest species.
The authority also supported the translocation of a number of isolated native fish populations, last year. These known sites and other key areas will continue to be closely monitored and action taken if required.

Introduced fish are at risk, and while our native fish are more resilient, they are still at risk said Mr Norman.

"High water temperature reduces the oxygen available in the water adding to the stress on fish."

"The high temperatures and sometimes low dissolved oxygen levels have the potential to further impact on the environmental health of our streams, which are already stressed from low or no stream flows from the ongoing drought," said Mr Norman.

"These impacts could be catastrophic, resulting in fish deaths, or contribute to the ongoing decline of stream health."
Mr Norman added that low or no flow is a natural element of the hydrology of unregulated streams. River flow stops for some period of time, bank and beds are able to dry out, pools remain in some systems, aquatic biota is concentrated in pools (where present) and this flow component is often consdiered an important ecological disturbance.

Mr Norman said that the situation is being closely monitored and the GB CMA is working closely with Goulburn-Murray Water, Goulburn Valley Water, the EPA and Department of Primary Industries to minimise the impacts on the environment and on water quality.

In unregulated streams, it is only a change in weather (lower temperatures and/or rainfall) that will improve the current situation, said Mr Norman

Release Ends

For more information or a photo opportunity please contact the GB CMA on 5820 1100