Environmental issues


Water gallery

Waterbirds return as the Gwydir Floods - touring photo exhibition

Visit this stunning waterbird photo exhibition as it travels around north-western NSW. The exhibition was created by OEH wetland staff to celebrate the large-scale colonial waterbird breeding event that took place in the Gwydir Wetlands over the summer of 2011-12. The exhibition is touring the following locations;

  • April: Warialda
  • May: Tamworth
  • June: Gunnedah
  • July: Baradine
  • August: Mungindi
  • September: Glen Innes
  • October: Dorrigo

View the images on flickr

Watch this Prime7 news clip showing how natural flooding and the strategic delivery of environmental water coordinated OEH have helped water birds thrive after years of drought.

Paika Lake filled for the first time in a century

OEH and a small group of landholders have managed the delivery of environmental flows to Paika Lake, 20 km north of Balranald. The 450 hectare lake had been kept dry due to a series of levees constructed more than a hundred years ago. Find out how this partnership helped more than 20,000 waterbirds, including three threatened species make the lake home.

Run time: 12:13 minutes

Creek systems flourish after years without water

The Jimaringle, Cockran and Gwynnes Creek systems between Wakool and Deniliquin are reaping the benefits of environmental flows, with vegetation flourishing and water birds and frogs enjoying the improved conditions. Download factsheet (13586Enviroflows.pdf 1506kb).

OEH has worked closely with local landholders to bring life back to the ailing 130km creek system, that travels through approximately 30 landholder properties located between the Edward and Murray Rivers.

To support the long term health of the environment, OEH is boosting natural water flows to deliver environmental water to the creek system. The environmental water flows began at the end of August 2012 and will continue into spring.

Environmental water Gwynnes Creek.

Environmental water at Gwynnes Creek. Sascha Healy/OEH

The health of the creek system suffered over the long dry period experienced in the last decade; Gwynnes Creek in particular has not had any substantial water flows for 40 years.  So being able to leverage off the good wet conditions experienced in the last two years is a significant benefit for the system.

Monitoring inspections over the last two years in the Jimaringle and Cockran creeks have identified more than 20 waterbird species foraging in the creeks including egrets, cormorants and wood ducks.

Several different frog species have also been observed including pobblebonk, marsh and peron’s tree frogs. The painted burrowing frog was heard calling only days after the Gwynnes Creek environmental flows commenced.

The fringing River Red Gums, Black Box and Lignum and wetland vegetation such as Spike Rush and Duckweed have also shown improvement from the wet conditions.”

Up to 6,000 megalitres of environmental water in total from the NSW and Commonwealth government has been made available for delivery using Murray Irrigation Limited infrastructure.

Restoring the Tuppal Creek

In this video landholders talk about how red river gums and local wildlife are bouncing back with the help of environmental water delivered by OEH in 2012.

Cockran, Jimaringle and Gwynnes Creek Systems

This video shows how local irrigation infrastructure and teamwork have delivered environmental water to sections of the Murray Valley for the first time in 40 years with great results for plants and animals.

Extra water helps fish in the Edward-Wakool river system

Dissolved oxygen levels are now being boosted in this popular fishing river system thanks to extra environmental water deliveries being coordinated by OEH.

Edward Escape - environmental water release into Edward-Wakool river system

Edward Escape - environmental water release into
Edward-Wakool river system. Emma Wilson/OEH

Recent rainfall and flooding throughout the catchment had caused extra organic material to be deposited into the river, resulting in a ‘blackwater’ effect and lowering dissolved oxygen levels to below 2 milligrams per litre. This may have been causing native fish such as the Murray cod and yellow belly to experience severe stress and possible death.

It is expected that by 30 June 2012, up to 60 gigalitres of environmental water will have been released into the Edward-Wakool river system, since environmental releases commenced in early April.

There are promising signs that the poor quality blackwater is being diluted and better quality habitat created for native fish and other aquatic fauna.The Edward River at Moulamein recently registered healthier oxygen levels of around 4 milligrams per litre and there have been very few reports of fish kills to NSW Fisheries and the Murray- Darling Basin Authority.

This initiative has been delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth, State Water Corporation, Murray CMA, Forests NSW, NPWS, NSW Office of Water, Fisheries NSW, the river operators and the local community. All the environmental water for this event was sourced from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Watering the world's largest river red gum reserves

Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2 February and 2011 International Year of Forests

Run time: 3.13 minutes
View video transcript
(ForestedWetlandsVideoTranscript.doc; 28 KB)

Lowbidgee Wetlands videos

Watch ABC TV News videos:

Birds from rejuvenated wetlands take flight (December 2010)
Water release revives Lowbidgee wetlands (September 2010)

April 2010

The Lowbidgee Wetlands near Balranald come to life after 8200 megalitres of NSW and Commonwealth environmental water was released via the North Redbank channel in March and April.

Birds flocked and vegetation flourished as the water spread across the floodplain on seven private properties: 'Murrundi', 'Springbank', 'Glen Avon', 'Auley', 'Moola', 'Riverleigh' and 'Baupie'. View video transcript (LowbidgeeWetlandsVideoTranscript.doc; 34 KB)

Largest environmental flow floods Yanga National Park

Red gums and reflections in very still waters, Yanga National Park

Red gums, Yanga NP. Photo: Paul Childs/OEH

Black and white photo of Piggery Lake showing trees in water

Piggery Lake, Yanga NP. Photo: J Maguire/OEH

Water flows to Tala Lake

Water flows to Tala Lake. Photo: James Maguire/OEH

Tala Lake, calm at sunset

Tala Lake. Photo: James Maguire/OEH

Find out more about Yanga National Park and environmental watering events.

Page last updated: 08 April 2014