Water to benefit Broken River fish, platypus

Friday 17 March, 2023
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GB CMA) plans to provide water from Lake Nillahcootie next week to improve habitat and food sources for native fish, platypus and water bugs in the Broken River.

Goulburn Broken CMA environmental water and wetlands manager, Simon Casanelia, said the water release was referred to as the Broken River Autumn fresh.

“This will be the second time an Autumn fresh has been delivered in the Broken River using environmental water,” Mr Casanelia said.

“The fresh was last delivered in 2018-19 and there is now sufficient water available to provide a similar flow for the river.”

Freshes help promote the growth of instream and bank vegetation, maintain water quality and increase habitat for water bugs, platypus and native fish.

“The Broken River supports a diverse and abundant native fish population including Murray cod, Macquarie perch, Golden perch, Silver perch, Australian smelt, River blackfish, Southern pygmy perch and Murray-Darling rainbowfish. The river is also thought to support a large platypus population,” Mr Casanelia said.

“The fresh is expected to start on 20 March and take approximately 10 days to deliver. It will have a peak magnitude of approximately 400 ML/day which is expected to increase water levels by approximately 25-30 cm.” 

Environmental flows are planned by the Goulburn Broken CMA in consultation with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) as well as Goulburn-Murray Water, who manage the releases of environmental flows from its storages.

This use of water for the environment is authorised by VEWH in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2022-23, which is available for download from, with regular watering updates posted on the Goulburn Broken CMA website

Timing of the environmental flows take into consideration seasonal conditions, delivery orders by irrigators and other water users and feedback from the community via the Goulburn Broken CMA’s environmental water advisory groups.

Providing water for the environment is only one way of protecting and improving rivers and wetlands. The Victorian Government is investing $248 million over four years (2020-2024) to improve catchment and waterway health across regional Victoria. This investment is a key component of Water for Victoria – the government’s plan for management of our water resources now and into the future, and includes activities such as:

  • The delivery of on-ground works (e.g. fencing, habitat, pest control and revegetation) to improve habitat, both along and in our waterways;
  • Provision of water for the environment to support native plants and animals;
  • Better coordination and management of our catchments and Ramsar sites – which are some of the most unique and important wetlands sites in the world.

To check flows in the Lower Goulburn, view the hydrograph on Goulburn Broken CMA’s website: (updated weekly).   

The Macquarie perch (photo: Arthur Rylah Institute) and platypus (photo: Australian Platypus Conservancy) will benefit from a water release down the Broken River.

The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

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