Trees

Winter environmental flows planned for the Goulburn River

Environmental flows are scheduled to be delivered in winter 2015 as a fresh flow that will result in increased river levels in the Goulburn River downstream of Goulburn Weir.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Environmental Flow Coordinator Geoff Earl said the environmental water would be delivered to water bank vegetation and increase habitat for macroinvertebrates (waterbugs) and fish.

“After losing a lot of bank vegetation during the 2010-11 floods, rushes, herbsand grasses tolerant of fluctuating water levels are now re-establishing on the river banks,” Mr Earl said.

“Flow variation is important to provide soil moisture to the bank profile and build the populations of these appropriate vegetation types along river banks”

River flows are planned to rise from current levels (approximately 1,000 ML/day) to a peak of 9,500 ML/day at Murchison.  The increase to this level will take approximately one week, and then slowly drop back to 1,000 ML/day over a period of three weeks.  The delivery of the entire flow will take about one month. 

With a peak flow of 9,500 ML/day, river levels are likely to see river heights increase to a maximum of about 4.4m at Murchison and 5.9m at Shepparton, still well below the top of bank.

The fresh is currently planned to commence in mid June.  Rainfall in June or July could change the planned fresh flow, changing its timing and/or the flow height. Flows in the Murray River and maintenance works downstream could also influence the release of the fresh.

People potentially affected by these sort of flows should take action in the first half of June to avoid or minimise any impacts.

Weather forecasts are regularly monitored and the delivery of environmental water will be reduced or cease where significant rainfall is forecast to result in high river flows.

Forecasts of flows from Lake Eildon and Goulburn Weir are available on the Goulburn-Murray Water website at http://www.g-mwater.com.au/water-resources/managing-water-storages.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder prioritised this environmental water release as part of its Seasonal Watering Plan 2014-15, which aims to improve river and wetland health across the State.

Please contact Geoff Earl at the Shepparton office of the Goulburn Broken CMA on (03) 5822 7700 for more information.