Go with the flow
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