Goulburn Broken CMA is keeping an eye on water quality in creeks, rivers and wetlands across the catchment as the hot, dry conditions continue.
“With little or no rain over the past few weeks flows in some sections of the smaller creeks and some Goulburn and Broken River tributaries are either very low or have stopped completely,” Goulburn Broken CMA Environmental Water Manager Simon Casanelia said.
The main risk to native fish is when oxygen levels in the water drop and they become stranded in small, unconnected pools.
“Native fish and other aquatic wildlife generally try and move to shaded areas and deeper water during warmer weather, which is why the work we’ve done with the community to re-snag and revegetate waterways is so important,” Mr Casanelia said.
“Improving and protecting the bank vegetation that provides this valuable shelter was the main reason water for the environment was delivered along the lower Goulburn River early last spring. Reedy Swamp near Shepparton and Horseshoe Lagoon near Trawool also received water for the environment last year and they will continue to be some of the only refuges in our region for waterbirds and other wildlife if conditions remain hot and dry.”
Mr Casanelia said similarly dry conditions were experienced this time last year and sections of a number of creeks, including Holland, Seven, Hughes and King Parrot, dried out.
“Unfortunately we are seeing this happen again,” he said.
Options to protect threatened native fish species if waterways dry out, stop flowing or become stagnant include moving fish further downstream or aeration.
There is also an increased chance of blackwater if there are heavy summer storms.
“This is most likely to occur if there is heavy rain and flash flooding in the Strathbogie area and surrounding floodplains, which can wash leaf litter and other debris into the creeks that then flow into the Goulburn River,” Mr Casanelia said.
Information about activities Goulburn Broken CMA supports to improve waterway health can be found at www.gbcma.vic.gov.au or phone 5822 7700. Information on river and stream flows can be accessed via the Bureau of Meteorology’s website www.bom.gov.au