Water for the environment will be delivered to the Kanyapella Basin east of Echuca for the first time later this month.
The 3000ha depression was once part of the large ancestral Lake Kanyapella and the area is of great cultural significance to Yorta Yorta people. It is one of the largest wetlands in the catchment, is dominated by river red gums and black box, and home to 21 rare or threatened birds including egrets, royal spoonbills, brolga and white-bellied sea eagles. Eight threatened and rare plants have been recorded at the site including a population of rigid water milfoil during a pre-watering survey earlier this year.
“It is really exciting that this delivery is finally happening,” Goulburn Broken CMA Environmental Water Project Officer Jo Deretic said.
“Landholders and Traditional Owners have been calling for environmental flows for some time now to protect and improve the Basin’s cultural and natural values and improve the area’s amenity.”
Up to 500ML of water for the environment will be delivered to the site via the Coram Drain and Yambuna Creek at a rate of 20ML/day. Water will enter the swamp on the western edge at the Warrigal Creek/Tongala Drain intersection and flow into the middle of the eastern side of the swamp. This trial delivery will shallowly inundate around 10 per cent of the wetland. Monitoring will be carried out during and after the delivery to help manage the timing and size of future flows and measure the environmental response.
Environmental flows are planned by the Goulburn Broken CMA in consultation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder. The delivery is managed by GMW in line with the VEWH’s Seasonal Watering Plan. Timing of the environmental flows takes into consideration weather conditions, delivery orders by irrigators and other water users and feedback from the community.
Environmental watering is only one way of protecting and improving rivers and wetlands. Fencing and revegetation, erosion control, pest control, returning logs to rivers for fish and bug habitat, and installation of fish ways to allow fish to pass through dams and weirs also help.