Nathalia, Numurkah and Wunghnu residents are invited to have their say on management of the lower Broken and Nine Mile creeks at a community workshop being held by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA).
Goulburn Broken CMA River Health and Environmental Water Project Coordinator Pam Beattie said the workshop would focus on what is valued most about the creek by the community, desired improvements and identifying top priorities for works. The feedback will contribute to Goulburn Broken CMA’s Environmental Water Management Plan.
“Goulburn Broken CMA will be updating the Environmental Water Management Plan for lower Broken Creek and Nine Mile Creek over the coming year,” Ms Beattie said.
“This plan is a 10-year document and provides an opportunity to think about what we can do better in terms of flow management and other waterway improvement activities.
“While the plan has a primary focus on improving environmental values, it is also important to make sure the objectives within the plan reflect what the local community thinks is most valuable about the creek and what needs further attention.
“We look forward to hearing what the community has to say and building it into our upcoming work on the lower Broken and Nine Mile creeks.”
Lower Broken Creek, including Nine Mile Creek, forms part of the larger Broken Creek system that originates at Casey’s Weir on the Broken River north of Benalla. Lower Broken and Nine Mile Creek is the section covering some 200km from Katamatite to Barmah, and taking in the townships of Numurkah, Wunghnu and Nathalia.
Originally an intermittent creek cared for by Yorta Yorta people, the creek has been altered and operated as a regulated, almost permanent waterway for the past 100 years, enabling the growth of local towns and irrigation developments.
This period of transformation involved sections of the creek being straightened, dredged and controlled through multiple weir structures. All of these changes have impacted the health of the creek by altering flow patterns, the physical shape of the creek and the type of habitat available.
Ms Beattie said despite these changes, lower Broken Creek remained a highly valuable asset within the Murray-Darling Basin supporting cultural values, rural communities and threatened native species such as Murray cod and golden perch.
“The creek forms part of the fabric of the Numurkah and Nathalia townships, providing a source of water and food, a place for recreation, and at times, an escape from the drought-stricken landscape,” she said.
“In recognition of this value, there has been considerable investment to improve the health of lower Broken Creek over recent decades. The installation of fishways on weir structures, reinstating deep pools and woody snags, native fish stocking, re-introducing threatened catfish, protecting the riparian zone through creating reserves and delivering water for the environment, have all worked towards improving aspects of the creek.
“These efforts have seen some improvements in water quality, the availability of instream habitat and consequently the native fish community, with researchers finding in recent years the creek is supporting natural breeding by Murray cod. Delivering small volumes of freshwater at the end of last years’ flood peaks helped provide critical water quality refuge areas for native fish and is an example of the benefit management efforts can provide even under extreme conditions.”
Ms Beattie said the Goulburn Broken CMA, with help from Traditional Owners, research scientists, partner organisations and the local community was aiming to build on past efforts to further improve the health of the creek.
The community workshop will be held on Tuesday 9 May, 5.30pm-6.30pm, at the Dancocks Room, Nathalia Sports and Community Centre, 42 Robertson Street. Supper will be provided. RSVP by 30 April to firstname.lastname@example.org noting any special dietary requirements.
For those who would like to provide input but are unable to attend the workshop, please email Pam Beattie email@example.com or request a time to chat over the phone during business hours.
A golden perch salvaged from one of lower Broken Creek’s water quality refuges during the Spring 2022 floods.