Shepparton News - Country News
Wetlands to get autumn drink
Up to 150 Ml of water will flow through Reedy Lagoon in a bid to keep water quality and water levels up and keep fish and vegetation alive during winter.
On the Gunbower Forest floodplain between Cohuna and Koondrook, Reedy Lagoon is a special place, according to North Central Catchment Management Authority project delivery executive manager Rachel Murphy.
“When it comes to a diversity of plant species and the different types of habitat that they provide, there really is no comparable wetland anywhere in northern Victoria,” Ms Murphy said.
“All that coverage and diversity of vegetation is what makes it so special.
“Not only does it look great, but it’s perfect as food, a place to rest or as a hideout for a range of native fish and waterbirds, amongst other wetland animals.
“These diverse habitats are a big part of what makes floodplain habitats so important on a national and international level.”
Water for the environment last spring saw the vegetation and the native small-bodied fish population thrive.
“It’s now time to protect those Murray-Darling rainbowfish, carp gudgeon, Australian smelt and flat-headed gudgeon over winter,” Ms Murphy said.
“By putting up to 150 Ml of water in now, we’ll keep the water quality and water level up, which will keep the fish and the vegetation alive during winter.
“Come spring, when Reedy Lagoon is planned to be filled, they should all be raring to go.”
Reedy Lagoon is not the only permanent or semi-permanent wetland on the floodplain that will get a drink this autumn.
The Little Reedy Wetland Complex, closer to the Murray River, will also be partially filled.
“The Little Reedy Wetland Complex is really diverse. There are different wetland types that have different depths and shapes that support different types of vegetation,” Ms Murphy said.
“By partially filling these — Little Reedy Lagoon, Green Swamp and Corduroy Swamp — we are giving a wide range of waterbirds and other wetland animals some high-quality habitat options for where they spend the winter months.
“These wetlands have just finished a drying phase, which means they’re due for a drink.
“Being lower on the floodplain near the river, they’re used to regular overbank flows. They don’t like being left dry for too long.”
Ms Murphy said water for the environment could only reach about 20 per cent of the broader floodplain forest, including the wetlands.
“Climate change and river regulation has resulted in large sections of Gunbower Island slowly losing their resilience and ability to recover after dry times.”
Up to 3500 Ml will be available for the entire wetland complex if needed. The waterings are expected to begin in the coming weeks. ■ The flows are authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21, which is available for download from: www.vewh.vic.gov.au with regular watering updates posted on the North Central CMA website: