January environmental flows update

Tuesday 14 January, 2014
The spring/early summer water freshes (or flow pulses) in the Goulburn River have now finished.

The spring/early summer water freshes (or flow pulses) in the Goulburn River have now finished.

Golden Perch (Yellowbelly) breeding was triggered by the first fresh, but there was none associated with the second fresh.

Vegetation continues to return to the river banks after being removed during the 2010/11 floods.

More vegetation is growing on softer soils, with plants also starting to establish on the harder and steeper soils.

The recent, longer December fresh aimed to encourage seeding and growth of lower bank vegetation over coming months. On the lower river banks, the aim is to establish plants which are happy to be under water for some of the time, so the plants don’t die whenever the river level rises.

Goulburn River flows are now back to minimum of approximately 1,000 ML/day (river height 2.72m at Shepparton), with Commonwealth environmental water being used to maintain flows at levels to allow fish movement along the river and to increase bug habitat.

In or after the week starting January 13th, flows could again increase to transfer irrigation water from the Goulburn system to the Murray River, potentially until the end of March. These flows will be varied over time to minimise the impact on the river environment, varying roughly from 1,000 ML/day to 3,000 ML/day (river height 3.37m at Shepparton).

Commonwealth environmental water continues to be delivered in the lower Broken Creek. Flows are averaging 250 ML/day at Rices Weir. The main reason for these flows now is to control the oxygen levels in the creek during the hotter months. Very low oxygen levels in 2002 caused fish deaths in the lower Broken Creek.

The Goulburn Broken CMA encourages anyone with observations about changes over time along the Goulburn River and Broken Creek to contact us on
5820 1100.