Wetland

Silver lining for Broken River

Friday 29 March, 2019
Native fish, including threatened silver perch, are thriving in the Broken River despite the lower flows.

Goulburn Broken CMA’s Simon Casanelia said Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) ecologists recently monitored the Broken River and parts of the Broken Creek and reported that fish appeared to be in good condition even though flows were low due to the ongoing hot dry conditions.

“Local anglers tell us that the Broken River is great for Murray cod and ARI staff confirmed that, with good numbers of Murray cod of all sizes - from 40mm to 970mm – recorded,” Mr Casanelia said.

“Having this size range is good news for future breeding. An increased number of juvenile golden perch and Murray River rainbowfish were also recorded.”

Silver perch were captured, tagged and released downstream of Gowangardie Weir.

“These silver perch moved into the Broken system as a result of co-ordinated deliveries of water for the environment along the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe rivers in 2017. It’s great to see they’ve stayed in our local rivers and creeks and are now building up numbers.”

Water quality has also improved since Lake Mokoan was decommissioned, as there has been significant reduction in turbidity (murky, cloudy water) and nutrients entering the river.

The monitoring is being done as part of Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program (VEFMAP), which aims to assess the response of native fish and vegetation to water for the environment. This information is then used to improve management of future environmental flows.

Last April, for the first time water for the environment was delivered along the Broken River with the aim of improving habitat for native fish, aquatic plants and water bugs. Subject to water availability another environmental flow could go ahead this autumn.

For more information about the VEFMAP, visit www.ari.vic.gov.au