Trees

Fish Spawn in Barmah wetlands

Friday 4 November, 2005
Golden Perch, Murray Cod and many small native fish species are spawning in the Barmah wetlands as a result of environmental water allocations released onto the iconic site.

Golden Perch, Murray Cod and many small native fish species are spawning in the Barmah wetlands as a result of environmental water allocations released onto the iconic site.

Up to 500 gigalitres of environmental water are keeping flows in the Murray River downstream of Yarrawonga from falling below 15,000 ML a day. Currently, the river is peaking at around 25,000 megalitres a day, or over double the normal capacity of the river.

The excess floodwaters are spilling out over the Barmah floodplain covering more than 50 per cent of the wetland system.

The additional flows are helping to enhance the peaks and minimise the troughs in Murray River flows that are already running high as a result of good rains in the Ovens and Kiewa river catchments.

The flooding is likely to be maintained until the end of November when the forest will be largely dried out when the ecological objectives have been achieved. This will also allow for the influx of campers in the busy holiday period.

Keith Ward, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s Environmental Water Resources Manager, said the environmental allocation was a shot in the arm for the wetland system that hasn’t received a decent flood in five years.

“Four to five months of flooding would be ideal but this is a good start. While nothing can replace a large scale natural flood we have been able to deliver some good flooding in the lower part of the wetland,’’ Keith said.

“By boosting existing flows we have provided habitat maintenance for fish, waterbirds and frogs and the threatened vegetation community of the Moira grass plains.

Keith said the flood was achieved by hoarding several years of environmental water releases for Barmah and using the water over a concentrated period for environmental outcomes.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority co-ordinated the project in partnership with other State and Federal agencies including the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

Release ends

For more information telephone Keith Ward on 58 201100 or Lisa McKenzie on 0427 212 651.