River

Lake Mokoan Alternative Plan fails to meet environmental objectives

Monday 26 March, 2007
An alternative plan for Lake Mokoan recently proposed by the Broken Irrigator Group would fail to meet environmental objectives because it would not provide a wetland of significance, according to the Goulburn Broken Catchement Management Authority.

An alternative plan for Lake Mokoan recently proposed by the Broken Irrigator Group would fail to meet environmental objectives because it would not provide a wetland of significance, according to the Goulburn Broken Catchement Management Authority.

GB CMA Chief Executive Officer, Bill O'Kane, said the alternative plan, which would see Lake Mokoan partitioned into three sections including two water storages and a small wetland, would mean the former Winton Wetland would remain "drowned".

"The plan has been considered and rejected because the benefits are far fewer than those of the "Mokoan - return to wetland project" which will rehabilitate one of the nation's largest wetland sites and provide myriad benefits for the health of our catchment," Mr O'Kane said.

"The natural wetting and drying pattern of a wetland is essential for protecting biodiversity as well as filtering sediments and nutrients from waterways that result in algal blooms.

"Rehabilitation of the surrounding land will regenerate wildlife corridors and important habitat for native species.

"The draw-down of the inefficient storage system scheduled for mid-2008 will put an end to extensive water loss through evaporation."

Furthermore, Mr O'Kane refuted claims that decommissioning Lake Mokoan would worsen flood impacts on Benalla.

"We are satisfied that decommissioning Lake Mokoan will not cause adverse flooding impacts on Benalla, or elsewhere for that matter," Mr O'Kane said.

"The current operational rules see a potential maximum diversion of up to 2,400 megalitres a day from the Broken River and Holland Creek catchments into Lake Mokoan, but only if diversion is scheduled to meet irrigation demands.  Despite this maximum diversion, it only represents an insignificant proportion compared with floods entering Benalla.

"These diversions, when they may occur, do not materially affect flood heights in Benalla. This was confirmed in numerous studies including the Benalla flood study conducted by Cardno Willing after the 1993 floods, and more recently by EarthTech."

Mr O'Kane said the Broken Irrigator Group proposal had also failed to  consider the cultural heritage of the area.

"The Winton Wetland area was once intensively occupied by Aboriginal people.  A survey in 2006 identified 40 Indigenous sites of spiritual value," Mr O'Kane said.

"The alternative plan would not protect these sites."

For more information visit www.lakemokoan.com.au.

Release ends

For more information contact
Anna Humphris at Impress Publicity
58 212 651 or anna@impresspublicity.com.au