Goul­burn to get a fill-up from Eil­don

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS -

COM­MU­NI­TIES, tra­di­tional own­ers, farm­ers and wildlife will all ben­e­fit from an en­vi­ron­men­tal flow along the Goul­burn River be­tween Goul­burn Weir and the Mur­ray River due to be de­liv­ered from mid-Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to the Goul­burn Bro­ken Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity.

“As much of the rain and runoff into the Goul­burn River is now cap­tured in the dams and used to sup­ply towns, in­dus­try and farms, the amount of wa­ter flow­ing down the river in spring has re­duced,” Goul­burn Bro­ken CMA en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter man­ager Si­mon Casanelia said.

“It also means the river flows higher and faster in the hot­ter months of the year when com­mu­ni­ties re­quire more wa­ter, which is the op- posite of what would hap­pen if there were no dams and weirs.

“These changes have af­fected the health and sur­vival of na­tive plants and an­i­mals, so we’re giv­ing na­ture a help­ing hand and de­liv­er­ing wa­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment at this time of the year to mimic more nat­u­ral flow con­di­tions.”

Wa­ter for the in­creased flow, peak­ing at 8500ML/day, is due to be re­leased from Goul­burn Weir from Septem­ber 16.

This wa­ter will be made up from re­leases from Eil­don Dam that started on the week­end, as well as in­flows from trib­u­taries in­clud­ing the Ru­bi­con, Acheron and Yea rivers.

The in­creased flows from Goul­burn Weir will take about four days to reach McCoy’s Bridge near the Mur­ray River.

The river will grad­u­ally rise to about 4m at Murchi­son, 5.3m at Shep­par­ton and 5m at McCoy’s Bridge be­fore slowly re­turn­ing to cur­rent lev­els (~0.8m at Murchi­son, ~2.8m at Shep­par­ton and ~1.5m at McCoy’s Bridge) by mid-Oc­to­ber.

The in­crease in river flow and height will be well be­low mi­nor flood level (9m at Murchi­son and 9.5m at Shep­par­ton).

Mr Casanelia said the en­vi­ron­men­tal flow would help bank-sta­bil­is­ing plant growth on the lower banks of the lower Goul­burn River and im­prove wa­ter qual­ity and pro­vide food and shel­ter for wa­ter­bugs and na­tive fish.

“Im­proved wa­ter qual­ity will help cray­fish, shrimps, wa­ter bugs and na­tive fish con­tinue to recover af­ter the nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring black­wa­ter event that hap­pened ear­lier this year af­ter a sum­mer storm,” he said.

“Ir­ri­ga­tors ap­pre­ci­ate bet­ter wa­ter qual­ity too, and of course, as the weather warms up, more peo­ple will be out and about by the river ca­noe­ing, fish­ing, bush­walk­ing and bird­watch­ing.”

Goul­burn Bro­ken CMA en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter indige­nous fa­cil­i­ta­tor Des Mor­gan said en­vi­ron­men­tal flows sus­tained healthy coun­try for Indige­nous peo­ple who had a con­tin­u­ing con­nec­tion to rivers.

“As well as this wa­ter re-gen­er­at­ing na­tive plant and fish species that have cul­tural im­por­tance to us, it’s im­por­tant we look af­ter it while it’s on our coun­try: that’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to the peo­ple and the land fur­ther down the river,” Mr Mor­gan said.

FILL ‘ER UP: Wa­ter from Eil­don should hit the Goul­burn River at McCoy’s Bridge by Oc­to­ber.

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