Across Victoria, natural stream flow patterns and wetland filling and drying cycles have been impacted by:
- land clearing and urbanisation
- levees and floodplain development
- the construction and operation of on-stream storages
- surface and ground water extraction.
This has had a significant impact on the health and functioning of these important aquatic ecosystems and the native plants and animals that depend upon them for survival.
To help improve the health of streams and wetlands in the Goulburn Broken Catchment, environmental water is used to:
- create instream habitat (eg. deeper pools)
- provide connectivity between streams and floodplains
- trigger fish movement and breeding (including Murray cod and golden perch)
- provide feeding and breeding opportunities for waterbirds such as brolga and ibis
- provide habitat for frogs, turtles, fish and water bugs
- improve the condition of river bank and in-stream vegetation
- cycle nutrients and carbon that drive food webs
- maintain drought refuges
- maintain stream water quality
Equally important for stream and wetland health are the complementary activities the Goulburn Broken CMA undertakes and supports. These include fencing, re-vegetation, off-stream watering, pest control, re-snagging (increasing large woody debris for fish habitat), erosion control, instream barrier removal, community education, research and monitoring.