Southern NSW on-farm wetlands and creeks receive flows

More than 50 landholders are taking part in a voluntary program that aims to improve the health of wetlands on private properties across the Murray valley.

Murray Wetlands aerial view

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is managing the delivery of water in cooperation with landholders as part of the Private Property Wetland Watering Program.

Environmental Water Management Officer Emma Wilson said five ephemeral creeks and wetlands ranging from three to 30 hectares would benefit from the flows.

Ephemeral creeks can be dry for a period of time between flows and careful management is required to ensure the system receives adequate water in order to remain healthy.

“Landholders have nominated wetlands and creeks on their properties to receive environmental water,” Ms Wilson said.

“Using a combination of private and on-farm irrigation infrastructure we are able to target individual wetlands as well as ephemeral creeks to help wildlife to move through the landscape.

“In doing so, we support different native plants and animals and provide passage for animals, particularly frogs, to move between wetlands,” Ms Wilson said.

  • At the West Corurgan Private Irrigation district, near Berrigan, environmental water is targeting vegetation health and waterbirds including brolgas and egrets.
  • In the Murray Irrigation area, 16 sites have been identified with flows supporting open water wetlands, black box depressions and river red gum floodplains.
  • Near Deniliquin, a whole-of-system approach is being used in the management of Tuppal Creek to improve water quality, support improved vegetation health and waterbirds.
  • In a wetland adjacent the Colligen Creek, environmental water is being used to improve the health of river red gums thereby supporting the sugar gliders which depend on mature trees for shelter and food.
  • Similarly, the Jimaringle, Gwynne’s and Cockrans creeks system are being targeted for improved ecosystem health, seed set and plant diversity.
  • At Murrain-Yarrein water managers are taking a landscape approach, providing flows to four wetlands and a 40km reach of the creek system which support a range of native plants and animals.
  • A private wetland at Murray Downs is also benefiting, with environmental water targeting southern bell frog breeding as well as vegetation health and wetland plant diversity.

Ms Wilson said the benefits of these events extended beyond the river bank.

“In addition to the environmental outcomes, landholders see the benefits in terms of improved water quality, sub-soil moisture and opportunistic feed for livestock once the water has passed,” Ms Wilson said.

“We also pay for the use of private irrigation infrastructure to deliver water, so there’s a benefit for local irrigation companies.

“These flows are keeping our wetlands and rivers healthy and provide a mini oasis for the families that manage them,” Ms Wilson said.