Go with the flow

Campaspe News - - NEWS -

A SEC­TION of Cam­paspe River down­stream from Rochester is set to re­ceive a boost with the re­lease of an an­nual sum­mer low flow.

The re­lease is due to be­gin in com­ing weeks and is aimed at pre­vent­ing saline pools from form­ing and to help pro­vide suit­able con­di­tions for fish, platy­pus and wa­ter rats to sur­vive sum­mer.

‘‘We will tar­get this sec­tion of river with a flow down­stream from Ep­palock of up to about 20ML a day, with peaks of up to 50ML a day,’’ North Cen­tral Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter man­ager Louissa Rogers said.

‘‘The flow will run un­til May to al­low the wa­ter to reach the Rochester cor­ri­dor and pro­vide the refuge these plants and an­i­mals need over sum­mer.

‘‘Due to re­cent con­di­tions, the Mur­ray River can ex­pe­ri­ence black wa­ter events. This flow has the po­ten­tial to al­low the Rochester to Echuca sec­tion of the river to be­come a safe haven for fish and Mur­ray cray­fish seek­ing refuge, if things de­te­ri­o­rate.

‘‘In fact, that hap­pened very re­cently, when the Cam­paspe had much health­ier dis­solved oxy­gen lev­els than the Mur­ray.’’

Ms Rogers said pools were cre­ated when flows stopped, which could be­come salty and af­fect the level of dis­solved oxy­gen in the wa­ter.

In iso­la­tion, those fac­tors can be a fa­tal cock­tail for fish and plants, while to­gether they can be dis­as­trous.

‘‘A lack of flow can also make it harder for platy­puses and wa­ter rats to sur­vive,’’ she said.

‘‘In­stead of be­ing able to swim from one part of the river to the next, they are forced to run the fox gaunt­let and scurry be­tween pools.

‘‘Fish need to swim be­tween deeper and shal­low habi­tats, and a lack of flow can make this al­most im­pos­si­ble.

‘‘We lost a gen­er­a­tion of platy­puses to the re­cent floods and it’s im­por­tant we don’t lose too many more.’’

En­vi­ron­men­tal flows in the Cam­paspe River are planned and man­aged by North Cen­tral CMA in part­ner­ship with var­i­ous gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

For more de­tails, visit www.nc­cma.vic.gov.au

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