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AFTER be­ing dammed at Jind­abyne in the late 1960s, the Snowy River choked. This once mighty river that car­ried much of the NSW snow­fields’ spring-time melt to the ocean was re­duced to just one per cent of its pre-dammed wa­ter flow. This wa­ter flowed from a drain­pipe at Jind­abyne Dam.

That, and the re­gret­ful use of non-in­dige­nous wil­lows to sta­bilise creek banks within its catch­ment, meant the Snowy was some­times noth­ing more than a string of stag­nant pools.

It’s in­cred­i­ble to think the Mckil­lops Bridge was raised to re­duce the chance of it be­ing swept away again by another Snowy spring-thaw flood; a fate it suf­fered just weeks after it was built in the 1930s.

Thank­fully, de­ci­sions have been made to erad­i­cate the wil­lows and in­crease the Snowy’s flow to around 25 per cent of its orig­i­nal flow. It will never be as healthy as it was in its nat­u­ral, mighty prescheme days, but it’s health­ier now than it has been for four decades. There are now far less of the weeds, al­lu­vial sand and slimy ponds that many of us re­call on our first ac­quain­tance.

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