Water for the environment focus
Water for the environment is generally focused on the river and wetlands systems west of Moree, where the Gwydir River branches into two defined systems: the Gwydir Wetlands, consisting of both the Gingham Watercourse and Lower Gwydir (Big Leather) River; and the Mehi River, which includes the Mallowa and Moomin systems to the south.
Providing habitats for wildlife
Water for the environment in the Gwydir valley supports a range of native plants and animals including:
- coolibah woodlands, river cooba, water couch marsh and common reeds
- the state's largest stand of marsh club-rush sedgeland
- breeding habitat for colonial nesting waterbirds, as well as habitat for migratory bird species listed under international agreements
- native fish such as Murray cod, silver perch, olive perchlet, purple spotted gudgeon and eel-tailed catfish.
There are four Ramsar-listed wetlands within the Gwydir wetland system: Windella, Crinolyn, Goddard's Lease and Big Leather (on Old Dromana which is also part of the Gwydir Wetlands State Conservation Area.
The Gwydir wetlands are the country of the Kamilaroi people, and include more than 160 cultural heritage sites that have been recorded in and around the wetlands, including burial sites, scar trees and stone artefacts.
The Gwydir Environmental Water Advisory Group (EWAG) provides local input into Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) decision-making and water management as a recognised Environmental Water Advisory Group (EWAG).
The EWAG assists in the preparation of annual watering plans and advises on specific water releases throughout the year.
The OEH manages water for the environment in the Gwydir catchment in partnership with the Gwydir EWAG, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, Water NSW, Department of Primary Industries, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and local land managers and water users.
Planning for the future
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is developing a Long Term Water Plan for the Gwydir catchment.