Find out more about Lake Benalla platypus & drawdown

Thursday 18 January, 2018
Members of the public are invited to come along to a free talk on platypus ecology at 3pm on Wednesday January 24 at the Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Learning Centre.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working with Benalla Rural City Council to drawdown Lake Benalla from Monday January 29 to control the noxious weed cabomba, which is a serious threat to water quality, human safety, lake aesthetics and flora and fauna.  

Goulburn Broken CMA Project Co-ordinator Tim Barlow said as well as smothering native aquatic vegetation that provided valuable habitat for animals, fish and waterbugs, cabomba also clogged pumps and filters. 

“We are aware there are platypus in the area which is why we have asked Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) researchers to conduct the survey before the lake level is lowered to make sure impact to the platypus population is minimised,” Mr Barlow said. 

APC biologist Geoff Williams said early morning and late evening survey sessions would be carried out from January 23 by experienced biologists to establish where platypus, especially breeding females and juveniles, and rakali (water rats) were located in the lake.  Residents can help by recording details of platypus sightings on the APC website: 

“Platypus and rakali are mobile animals and will adjust their activity patterns for a few weeks in response to the lake draw down,” Mr Williams said. 

“We will also be on hand at the height of the drawdown to rescue and relocate any animals that might become stranded in pools within the lake.”

Similar work will be undertaken by fish biologists to move any stranded native fish to the main watercourse of the Broken River, which will continue to run through the lake during the drawdown period.  

Lowering the lake will expose the cabomba to air and dry it out. This is the most effective and efficient way to get rid of the weed and is safer than using sprays or other chemicals.

The project is managed by Goulburn Broken CMA, Benalla Rural City Council and Goulburn-Murray Water and funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.  

To RSVP for the free information talk, please email or phone 5822 7700 by 3pm Tuesday January 24. 

The Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Learning Centre is located at 2 Fawckner Drive Benalla. 

More information about the drawdown can be found here.