Valley

Opportunities to flow from mid-Goulburn study

The findings of a flow study for the Goulburn River downstream of Lake Eildon to Nagambie will help identify opportunities for flows to benefit the river’s environmental, social and economic values.

The findings of a flow study for the Goulburn River downstream of Lake Eildon to Nagambie will help identify opportunities for flows to benefit the river’s environmental, social and economic values.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Strategic River Health Manager Simon Casanelia said members of an advisory group, made up of agency staff and community members, recently met with scientists at a number of locations along the mid -Goulburn River to discuss the values and threats of the river.

“The next step involves reviewing background material and data, much of it developed for a 2003 Goulburn River flow study,” Mr Casanelia said. “The 2014 study recognises that a lot has changed in the past decade, particularly the amount of environmental water available and the demand for irrigation water.”

The cold and unseasonally high flows during summer and autumn released from Lake Eildon to meet downstream demand for irrigation significantly affects the flow regime along the mid-Goulburn River.

“As irrigators become more efficient in the amount of water they use and have more control of how much and when it’s delivered, thanks to programs such as the Goulburn Broken CMA-led Farm Water Program, we think there may be some opportunities to better manage flows for some additional social, economic and environmental outcomes,” Mr Casanelia said.

“Trout prefer cold water so there are recreational and tourism opportunities there. We’re also keen to investigate the impact of flows on floodplain wetlands that support threatened flora and fauna and existing stretches of river bank vegetation.”

Historically the mid-Goulburn River has supported large numbers of Macquarie perch, Trout cod and Murray cod.

“The current status of these native fish in the mid-Goulburn River is unknown,” Mr Casanelia said. “A fish study is being conducted by ARI at the moment that will help inform this study and it’s been great to hear local fishermen have reported catching Murray cod in the mid-Goulburn River near Yea. Macquarie perch are now being found in Goulburn River tributaries including the Yea River, King Parrot Creek and Hughes Creek, in large part due the great work landholders have been involved in in protecting and improving habitat along those waterways.”

The flow study will be completed in November 2014. For more information, visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

Simon Casanelia (facing camera) with consultants, agency staff and scientists including Peter Cottingham and Jarod Lyon