Wildlife responds as river flows
Native fish in refuge pools on Toorale National Park have taken advantage of rain and flows down the Warrego River to move out into their floodplain habitat.
It’s good news for local fish and great news for the health of the river and the communities alongside it.
DPIE EES Director Conservation Programs Derek Rutherford said recent rains had brought life and hope back to the drought-affected region.
“Flows onto the western floodplain of Toorale have attracted all manner of wildlife including brolgas, pelicans, cormorants, budgerigars, wrens and more, Mr Rutherford said.
“The water bugs are prolific and providing a fantastic source of food for the frogs and birds.
“Native plants that have been dormant for years, have burst into life. Flowers are blooming, trees are putting on fresh growth and wetland plants are flourishing as they provide essential habitat for birds, bugs and other wildlife.
“The floodplain has now connected with the Darling River downstream of Toorale for the first time in many years and productivity generated by the river and floodplain is now filtering downstream as the Darling travels south.
“The Darling is now carrying vital nutrients and food for the native plants and animals along its path,’ he said.
Since its purchase by government in 2008, flows through Toorale National Park have been managed to support the important environments on the park as well as further downstream in the Darling River. The removal of Peebles Dam in 2019, one of the largest barriers at the lower end of the Warrego River, has allowed flows to reconnect with the Darling River and removed a major barrier to fish movement between the two rivers. More works are proposed that will further enhance the management of these environments.
“Native fish such as golden perch as well as smaller bodied species can swim or drift downstream, slowly repopulating the river as it recovers from the extended dry spell.
“Toorale in particular is known habitat for spangled perch, golden perch and bony bream.
“While recent rains have not yet ended the drought, the wildlife response gives hope to the individuals and communities who value the river and the life it supports, Mr Rutherford said. said.
Flows along the Darling River have now reconnected with the Murray for the first time in 2 years.