Trees

Works to ease impacts of heavy rain

Tuesday 24 March, 2009
Early warning systems are being set up to allow authorities to respond quickly if heavy rain in the coming months washes fire ash into waterways.

Early warning systems are being set up to allow authorities to respond quickly if heavy rain in the coming months washes fire ash into waterways.

Goulburn Broken CMA Manager of Strategic River Health, Wayne Tennant said while local authorities are hopeful the coming months will bring increased rainfall, they are asking communities and landowners to be mindful of how that could affect rivers and streams.

"Rainfall is needed and it will be welcomed but we do hope that it comes with a low intensity so it doesn't wash sediments and ash from the fires into our waterways."

Mr Tennant said the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority was working with partner agencies - Goulburn-Murray Water, Goulburn Valley Water, Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), Department of Primary Industries and the Environmental Protection Authority to monitor water quality and flows and manage the impacts on water supplies.

"Agencies are setting up warning systems to give early notice of poor water quality events."

"We are also analysing scenarios to determine downstream impacts and assess possible management options in the regulated Goulburn River," said Mr Tennant.

"With little riparian vegetation remaining in many areas, including the King Parrot Creek, Rubicon, Acheron and Yea rivers there is no natural filter to prevent sediments and pollutants entering the waterways."

Mr Tennant said manmade barriers could prevent silt and ash entering waterways in the event of low flows or rainfall but were not effective against high flows or heavy rain.

Scientists from DSE's Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) have already been undertaking fish rescues at sites where key threatened fish species may be impacted on by post-fire sediment slugs.

ARI Researcher Jarod Lyon said it is important that fish from isolated, remnant populations are translocated until the sediment has been flushed through the waterways.

"Some threatened species, such as Macquarie Perch in King Parrot Creek near Flowerdale and Barred Galaxiids around Marysville, can be killed by the muddy water that results from post-fire rainfall," Mr Lyon said.

"It is important that we have fish moved to safe locations so they can be used to repopulate these streams should bad water quality occur."

The community is encouraged to report major water quality changes to the EPA, local water authority or Goulburn Broken CMA.

For information on how to monitor water quality visit www.waterwatch.org.au

Release Ends

For more information contact:

Wayne Tennant on 03 5820 1100