Up to 190 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available to support the breeding and growth of native fish communities in the mid and lower Murrumbidgee River below Darlington Point, New South Wales.
Photo: Gunther Schmida © Murray Darling Basin Authority
Commonwealth environmental water is expected to be delivered during October-November 2012. The commencement date of the watering action will depend on rainfall, local weather conditions, and advice from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) relating to the best breeding conditions in the area for Murray cod.
The environmental water will contribute to:
- maintaining inundation of native fish breeding habitat long enough (approximately 40 days) to ensure breeding success
- increasing flows over a four to five day period to help native fish disperse throughout the river at the end of the breeding season
- providing a gradual decrease in flows over a period of approximately 15 days to limit the risk of stranding native fish that may have continued to occupy breeding habitat.
Peak flows during the event have been planned so that they will not exceed 12 gigalitres (GL) per day (as measured at Darlington Point). This will help ensure that the environmental water will be contained well within the river banks. Water delivery will be managed in cooperation with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW State Water and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries). These agencies will also be working with Charles Sturt University, the University of NSW, and the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority to monitor the outcomes achieved by this environmental watering action.
The total environmental water requirement for this watering action is estimated at 250 GL. This volume will be shared between the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (190 GL) and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (60 GL).
Flows from this environmental watering action will provide additional benefits throughout the river as it travels from the storages downstream through the Murrumbidgee.
To view the video Helping the Murray cod in the Murrumbidgee which refers to this watering event please visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website .
What makes this place so special and why Commonwealth environmental water is used here?
- Despite several flood events in the Murrumbidgee River over the last two years, large and medium sized native fish have not had ideal conditions for breeding. The flood events occurred outside their spring breeding season, or flows did not last long enough to ensure successful breeding.
- The mid and lower Murrumbidgee River provides habitat to many different types of native fish, such as Murray cod, trout cod, golden perch, silver perch and freshwater catfish, which have declined both in numbers and the range of areas in which they live.
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