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History - Mid Murray

Environmental watering in the Mid-Murray Catchment in previous years

Please note the following summaries are totals for the whole Murray Catchment, with the environmental watering that has occurred in the Mid-Murray bolded.

 

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2013-14

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2013-14
Watering action (all actions have been completed) Amount of water delivered (ML)
Environmental watering of Hattah Lakes within the lower River Murray region in 2014 4 633
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (within Lower River Murray region) 158 983
Lower Murray (Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace 2013-14 to 2015-16) 40
Lower Murray (Clark's Floodplain, Thiele's Flat and Loxton Riverfront Reserve 2013-14 to 2015-16) 71
Lower Murray (Murray River at the Locks 8 and 9 weir pools) 216
Lower Murray Wetlands (South Australia) 1 019
Johnsons Waterhole, Lower Murray (South Australia) 104
Mallee Wetlands 2 652
Murray River Valley including Gunbower Creek 244 250
Edward-Wakool Rivers, Colligen, Yallakool, Tuppal, Gwynnes, Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks 16 815
Total in 2013-14 428 783

Environmental watering in the Murray River Valley 2013-14

Status

31 March 2014: This action is completed.

Up to 300 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water is being provided for use within the Murray River Valley including the river channel between Hume Dam to the Murray Mouth in South Australia, the lower Darling River channel below Menindee Lakes to Wentworth and associated low level floodplain and wetlands.

Pelicans near Lake Alexandrina, South Australia. © Amanda Cox and DSEWPaC

The delivery of Commonwealth environmental water may be used to order flow rates targeting up to 15,000 ML/day downstream of Yarrawonga Weir (recognising that subsequent rain events may naturally result in marginally higher rates). If there is an increased chance of flow rates exceeding 18,000 ML/day downstream of Yarrawonga Weir and 60,000 ML/day at the South Australian border the delivery of Commonwealth environmental water will be reduced or cease. Flow thresholds have been established through external consultation with our delivery partners to minimise impacts on third parties and to river and floodplain work programs, and will be subject to ongoing assessment as the season progresses and conditions change. In the use of Commonwealth environmental water, delivery partners are required to manage flows so as to avoid or minimise impacts to private property and public infrastructure.

The proposed watering action will contribute to the following expected environmental outcomes:

  • maintain and improve the condition, diversity and extent of floodplain and wetland native plants communities
  • improve the diversity and condition of native fish and waterbird populations through maintaining suitable aquatic habitat and providing opportunities for breeding and recruitment
  • maintain ecological function through supporting longitudinal and lateral hydrological connectivity
  • improve ecosystem and population resilience through supporting ecological recovery and maintaining aquatic habitat
  • maintain water quality within the River Murray valley by contributing to the transport and export of salt and nutrients through the Murray Mouth and mitigating environmental risks associated with hypoxic dissolved oxygen levels and algal blooms.

This watering action will be managed in cooperation with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources SA.

See also: Minister's media release - A '300 billion litre drink' for the River Murray

Environmental watering in Gunbower Creek 2013-14

Status

22 November 2013: This action is in progress.

About the watering

Gunbower Creek, Murray River catchment. Photo by Alana Wilkes (CEWO)

Up to 35,000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use in Gunbower Creek, Victoria, during 2013-14.Commonwealth environmental water will contribute to in-stream baseflows and freshes within Gunbower Creek between July 2013 and June 2014.

This watering action will contribute to achieving the following objectives:

  • provide habitat, breeding and recruitment opportunities for native fish
  • support hydrological connectivity and water quality throughout Gunbower Creek.

This watering action is an example of how environmental water can contribute to environmental outcomes at multiple sites. With the assistance of our delivery partners, the environmental water for this action will be provided from flows that were originally part of other environmental watering actions in Victoria.

This watering action will be managed in cooperation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Goulburn-Murray Water, The Living Murray, the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the North Central Catchment Management Authority.

Environmental watering in the Edward-Wakool River System 2013-14

A large ‘multisite’ environmental water event in the Murray River during 2013-14 contributed to meeting environmental watering needs in the Edward-Wakool system. This included approximately 12,000-18,000 ML of environmental water delivered to Yallakool Creek during October to December 2013 to support Murray cod and Golden perch spawning and to maintain breeding habitat.

Additional Commonwealth environmental water was also made available for use in the Edward-Wakool River System during 2013-14 for the watering actions listed below.

Status

30 June 2014: These actions have been completed

Yallakool Creek

8,494 ML of Commonwealth environmental water, provided during December 2013 to February 2014, contributed to a gradual recession to the Murray cod maintenance flow referred to above (the ‘multisite’ flows).

Niemur River

5,759 ML of Commonwealth environmental water, provided during February to March 2014, to the Niemur River via Colligen Creek contributed to maintaining water quality and reduce the risk of stress and mortality of native fish caused by high water temperatures and decreasing dissolved oxygen levels.

Tuppal Creek (Spring and Autumn)

A total of 2,562 ML of Commonwealth environmental water and 2,725 ML in NSW environmental water was provided for spring (October to December 2013) and autumn (March to April 2014) watering actions in Tuppal Creek during 2013-14. These flows contributed to providing habitat for native fish and frogs, improving water quality, and providing connectivity between the remnant pools and maintain water depths.

2012-13

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2012-13
Watering action (all actions have been completed) Amount of water delivered (ML)
Note: * indicates that the action was undertaken with the use of return flows.
Clark's floodplain with Nature Foundation SA 60*
Lower Murray River (South Australia) Disher Creek – 250*
Berri Basin – 543*
Whirlpool corner – 91*
Ramco Lagoon – 1*
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 98 853
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 150 000
Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth - 237 118*
Murray River valley 300 000
Tuppal creek 2 000
Gunbower creek 2 158*
Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes creeks 3 000
Edward-Wakool river system 28 943
Total in 2012-13 822 792

Environmental watering in the Murray River Valley

Up to 300 gigalitres of Commonwealth environmental water was made available to create more natural river flow patterns in the Murray River valley, and deliver significant volumes of water to the lower Murray River, during spring and summer 2012-13.

The use of environmental water in the Murray River valley built on the outcomes of previous years' environmental water delivery and high natural flow events, and sought to:

  • maintain and improve the health of riparian and wetland native vegetation
  • encourage breeding and support the survival of native fish such as Murray cod, silver perch, golden perch and freshwater catfish
  • connect habitats along the river and between the river channel and fringing wetlands
  • transport and disperse materials such as sediment, nutrients and organic matter
  • provide additional inflows to the Lower Lakes to improve water quality and enable barrage releases to the Coorong. Additional inflows to the Coorong will help manage salinity and seasonal water levels for native water plants such as Ruppia tuberosa.

This watering event was part of a series of coordinated environmental watering actions across the Southern Connected Basin. Water from other environmental water holders as well as other Commonwealth environmental watering actions, such as spring releases in the Murrumbidgee and Goulburn rivers, together supported environmental outcomes at multiple sites across the river system.

Commonwealth environmental watering in the Murray River valley was actively managed to take account of river conditions and rainfall, in cooperation with the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Catchment Management Authorities.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute monitored the outcomes of this watering action in the lower Murray River valley.

Gunbower creek

Status

22 November 2013: This action has been completed.

About the watering

Photo of Gunbower creek

Gunbower creek. Photo: John Baker © DSEWPaC

Commonwealth environmental water contributed to providing good quality habitats in which native fish communities, including golden and silver perch, Murray cod, trout cod and the crimson spotted rainbowfish, could migrate, breed and grow.

This watering action was managed in cooperation with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Goulburn-Murray Water, and the North Central Catchment Management Authority.

Edward River, Wakool River, Colligen and Yallakool Creeks

28,943 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered between October 2012 and April 2013 and was expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • support the movement, breeding and recruitment of native fish (such as Murray cod, and golden and silver perch)
  • support the habitat requirements of native fish and other native species including frogs, turtles and invertebrates
  • support ecosystem functions that relate to the connectivity of habitats along the watercourse.

The use of Commonwealth environmental water will help build on the outcomes of environmental water provided to the Edward-Wakool River System in previous years.

Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes Creeks

Gwynnes Creek before this watering action

Photo: Josh Campbell © Murray Catchment Management Authority

Gwynnes Creek during this watering action

Photo: Josh Campbell © Murray Catchment Management Authority

3,000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was used in Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes creeks in the Edward-Wakool river system during spring in 2012-13. Additional environmental water for this event was supplied by the New South Wales Government.

The use of environmental water in Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes creeks contributed to:

  • providing flows to maintain and improve water quality within the creeks, particularly salinity
  • maintaining and improving the health of native plant communities in the creeks including river red gum, black box and lignum
  • providing good quality habitats in which native animal communities, such as the pobblebonk frog, Peron's tree frog and wrinkled toadlet, can successfully breed and grow.

Landholders along these creeks continue to be key partners by generously sharing their time, knowledge and experience during the planning, delivery and monitoring of these watering actions.

Video

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has produced the video The Cockran, Jimaringle and Gwynnes Creek systems which refers to this watering event.

Tuppal Creek

Tuppal Creek during watering. Photo: Josh Campbell © Murray Catchment Management Authority

2,000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was used in Tuppal Creek during 2012-13. Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with up to 2,000 ML of environmental water supplied by the New South Wales Government.

Tuppal Creek after watering. Photo: Josh Campbell © Murray Catchment Management Authority

Environmental water was delivered in spring-summer 2012 to:

  • provide flows through the system to maintain and improve water quality within the creek, particularly salinity
  • maintain and improve the health of native plant communities in the creek including river red gum, black box and lignum
  • contribute to providing good quality habitat, and support the breeding and recruitment of native animals, particularly frogs.

Tuppal Creek had not previously received environmental water. Landholders along Tuppal Creek are key partners, who kindly shared their time, knowledge and experience to enable environmental water to be delivered to the creek for the first time.

Video

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has produced the video Restoring Tuppal Creek which refers to this watering event.

2011-12

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2011-12
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Colligen Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 5 500
Wakool River and Colligen Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 7 500
Edward-Wakool river system (fish refuge habitat flows) 39 445
Jimaringle-Cockran Creek (Edward-Wakool river system) 3 000
Mid-Murray River system (fish refuge habitat and replenishment flows) 92 093
Lower Murray River (South Australia) 69 300
Lower Murray River (South Australia) 126 600
Total in 2011-12 343 438

Colligen Creek

5,500 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in Colligen Creek during November and December 2011. Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with water supplied by the New South Wales Government.

The environmental water was used to provide a pulse in river flows over a period of 20 days. The primary objective for this pulse flow was to encourage movement of large bodied native fish such as Murray cod, silver perch and golden perch, and to initiate spawning and recruitment of these species.

Monitoring undertaken by Charles Sturt University has subsequently shown that there were also significant benefits to native small bodied fish, such as carp gudgeons. For a summary of the preliminary results refer to the factsheet: Early results from environmental watering in Colligen Creek.

Wakool River and Colligen Creek

7,500 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in the Wakool River and Colligen Creek during February and March 2012. The Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with water provided by the New South Wales Government.

The objectives of this watering action were to provide opportunities for small-bodied fish, such as Murray-Darling rainbow fish and carp-gudgeons, to access important breeding and feeding habitat and improve the condition of the river and riparian ecosystems.

In the Wakool River the environmental water flows commenced on 14 February 2012 and continued until 6 March 2012 when they were suspended due to heavy rainfall in the region and further upstream in the Murray River catchment.

In Colligen Creek the environmental water flows began on 8 February 2012, and finished on 1 March 2012. This watering action built upon the benefits achieved in the November-December 2011 Colligen Creek environmental water flows referred to above.

The flow was monitored as part of the Edward-Wakool fish monitoring project.

Fish refuge habitat flows – Edward River, Wakool River and Yallakool Creek

39,736 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the Edward River, Wakool River and Yallakool Creek during April and May 2012. Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with additional environmental water provided by the New South Wales Government.

The water was used to provide and maintain important refuge habitat for remnant fish populations, particularly Murray cod, from hypoxic blackwater (water containing low levels of oxygen) that can severely impact fish.

Commonwealth environmental water was delivered using Murray Irrigation Limited infrastructure, and continued from water delivered by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

This watering action also contributed to the outcomes of environmental watering in the mid-Murray River system (refuge habitat and replenishment flows).

Commonwealth environmental water was made available for use in the mid-Murray River system during autumn 2012 as releases from Hume Dam to target flows of approximately 7.5 GL per day.

The March 2012 floods in the Murrumbidgee catchment resulted in a hypoxic blackwater event (water contained low levels of dissolved oxygen) in the lower Murrumbidgee River. From mid-March through to May, hypoxic blackwater was flowing from the Murrumbidgee into the Murray River, and there were concerns that it may severely impact fish and other aquatic animals.

The objective of this watering action was to provide and maintain refuge habitat in the Murray River for native fish and other aquatic animals, such as Murray cod and Murray crayfish. Releasing environmental water to increase flows down the Murray River, increased the refuge habitat available below the junction with the Murrumbidgee River.

This action complemented pre-releases made by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority from Hume Dam, and Commonwealth environmental watering actions that were undertaken simultaneously in the wider Murray River catchment. An integrated approach was taken to mitigate the negative impacts of hypoxic blackwater from the Murrumbidgee River; Commonwealth environmental water was also delivered in the:

The benefits of this watering action were monitored by the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre. For further information please refer to:

This watering action was managed by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (River Murray Operations) in cooperation with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales Office of Water, State Water Corporation, Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Goulburn-Murray Water.

Environmental watering in Jimaringle-Cockran Creek

3,000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the Jimaringle-Cockran Creek during March and April 2012. Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with 3.2 GL of water supplied by the New South Wales Government.

The environmental water was used to provide a follow up watering following the successful watering of the creek system in autumn 2011. The watering action aimed to improve water quality and continue to improve the health of the vegetation in the system, in particular the aquatic vegetation and fringing river red gum and black box communities.

2010-11

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2010-11
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth 29 183
Coombool Swamp 506
Lake Walla-walla 7 850
Kulkurna 57
Hattah Lakes 9 342
Katarapko Floodplain-Carpark Lagoons 154
Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks 1 100
Wakool River and Yallakool Creek 18 667
Total in 2010-11 66 859

Wakool River and Yallakool Creek

18,667 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in the Wakool River and Yallakool Creek during January and February 2011. This water contributed to the following objectives:

  • to encourage the movement and possible spawning of large bodied native fish in the Wakool and Yallakool system
  • maintain and enhance riparian and aquatic habitat, and improving water quality.

Jimaringle-Cockran Creek

1,100 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the Jimaringle-Cockran Creek during April 2011. Commonwealth environmental water was delivered in conjunction with water supplied by the New South Wales Government. This water contributed to the following objectives:

  • to ‘prime up’ and wet the soil in the mid-section of the system, which had not received floodwater in 2010-11, in anticipation of the potential delivery of additional environmental water and/or natural high system flows in 2011-12
  • to maintain or improve the health of riparian vegetation, particularly black box and river red gum, to build on improvements in vegetation condition that had occurred due to recent good rainfall in the region
  • to improve our understanding of inundation extents that can be achieved using small volumes of water delivered through strategic irrigation escapes.

2009-10

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2009-10
Watering action
(all actions have been completed)
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Lake Wallawalla, near Mildura, Vic 4 140
Hattah Lakes, near Mildura, Vic 7 060
Werai State Forest, near Deniliquin, NSW 4 500
Top-up flows for nine wetlands along the lower NSW Murray (Andruco Lagoon, Boeill Floodplain, Brechin, Cliffhouse 1 and 2, Grand Junction, Kennaugh, Nampoo, Wee Wee Creek) 1 750
Millewa State Forest, near Deniliquin, NSW 1 500
Chowilla Floodplain, near Renmark, SA & NSW 7 230
Lake Albert, at the Murray Mouth, SA 20 000
Morgan Conservation Park, near Morgan, SA 320
Molo Flat, near Waikerie, SA 330
Wigley Reach, near Renmark, SA 250
Paiwalla Wetland, near Murray Bridge, SA 240
Weila, near Renmark, SA 220
Overland Corner Complex, near Kingston-on-Murray, SA 200
Katarapko Creek Wetlands, near Berri, SA 20
Total in 2009-10 47 760

Werai Forest

4,500 ML of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered during spring 2009 to provide drought relief for the wetland vegetation, including stands of common reed and river red gum forests, and to improve overall wetland health.

This use of Commonwealth environmental water contributed to the following environmental outcomes in the Werai Forest including:

  • River red gum health improved in the flooded areas with new growth and an increase in canopy density were observed.
  • growth and flowering of aquatic plant species was observed after the water delivery
  • the increased connectivity created by the watering action allowed fish to move upstream within the Werai Forest system.
  • The improved wetland vegetation also provided habitat for many frog species, including the Peron’s tree frog, plains froglet, spotted marsh frog and common froglet. Long-necked turtles were also observed feeding in the wetlands.

2008-09

Environmental watering in the catchment in 2008-09
Watering action
(all actions have been completed
Amount of water delivered (ML)
Chowilla Floodplains (SA) (Near Renmark, SA) 1 780
Carpark Lagoons, Katarapko (SA) (Near Berri, SA) 200
Paiwalla Wetland (SA) (Between Mannum and Murray Bridge, SA) 600
Rocky Gully (SA) (Near Murray Bridge, SA) 80
Markaranka Wetland Complex (SA) (Near Waikerie, SA) 2 230
Overland Corner Floodplain (SA) (Near Kingston-on-Murray, SA) 500
Murbpook Lagoon (SA) (Near Blanchetown, SA) 1 400
Lindsay Island (VIC) (On VIC/SA Border) 1 000
Hattah Lakes (VIC) (North-Western Victoria near Robinvale) 2 120
Backwater Lagoon (NSW) (In Wangumma State Forest, west of Wentworth, NSW) 1 000
Total in 2008-09 10 910