Lachlan profile

Mass of pelicans at a breeding site on Lake Brewster

A pelican breeding site on Lake Brewster. Photo P Packard OEH

The Lachlan valley has an area of 90,000 square kilometres, extending from the Great Dividing Range to the Great Cumbung Swamp on the Riverine plains.

Planning for the future

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is developing a Long Term Water Plan for the Lachlan catchment.

The plan intends to improve the management of water for the environment and maximise outcomes from available flows.

Aims and objectives spanning five, 10 and 20 year timeframes will be included in the plan and guide the use of environmental water under a range of conditions.

OEH will work with the Environmental Water Advisory Group as part of the process with local, traditional and scientific knowledge informing the final plan.

Important environmental assets including fish, bird and plants will be identified and objectives set to support their ongoing and improved health.

Ecosystem functions such as waterbird breeding, fish movement and nutrient cycling will also be identified as part of the process.

The Long Term Water Plan is one of nine being developed for catchments across the state. It forms part of the NSW Government's commitment to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

At the same time, DPI Water is developing Water Resource Plans for the nine catchments, outlining the rules for access and use of consumptive and planned environmental water.

Together, they aim to achieve an agreed balance of outcomes between the environment and other water users.

More information

For more information go to Long Term Water Plans or contact:

Cristina Venables - Office of Environment and Heritage
Phone: 02 6229 7085

Important wetland sites

The Lachlan valley includes three sites listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia:

  • Great Cumbung Swamp
  • Lachlan Swamp
  • Booligal Wetlands.

Below Wyangala and Carcoar dams, the catchment's lowlands are recognised as an endangered ecological community.

Other significant wetlands in the catchment include Merrowie Creek Wetlands, Lake Brewster and Lake Cowal.

Managing environmental water

The Lachlan River experiences highly variable flows. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) manages the delivery of environmental water when and where conditions allow to provide feeding and breeding habitat for a range of wildlife. This is done in consultation with the Lachlan Riverine Working Group.

Management of environmental water supports the recovery and maintenance of a diverse range of plant communities including Black Box, river cooba, common reed and extensive areas of riparian fringing River Red Gum forest and the animals that use those habitats. This management is done in consultation with the Lachlan Riverine Working Group (LRWG).

Recent monitoring, following environmental flows delivered after the flood of 2012, has revealed the return of the threatened Southern Bell Frog — undetected in the valley for more than 30 years.

Bird species in the Lachlan valley

The Lachlan valley provides habitat for a number of birds listed under international migratory bird agreements, including:

  • great egret
  • glossy ibis
  • sharp-tailed sandpiper
  • common greenshank
  • Latham's snipe
  • painted snipe
  • white-bellied sea-eagle.

The valley also attracts several birds listed as vulnerable, including the Australasian bittern, blue-billed duck and the freckled duck.

Indigenous connection

The Lachlan valley wetlands, rivers and creeks have important Aboriginal cultural heritage values. Significant sites are found throughout, including scar trees, earthen mounds and artefacts.

Environmental water planning

Environmental water planning in the Lachlan valley catchment is supported by the following key documents, regulations and plans:

The allocation of environmental water is outlined in Environmental water use in New South Wales: Outcomes 2015-16 (PDF 9.2MB) report.

View a map (PDF 845KB) showing the location of environmental watering areas in the Lachlan valley.

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Page last updated: 08 September 2017