The group brings together the local knowledge and expertise of interested community and government organisations to advise on the management of environmental water within the Lachlan River catchment.
Chaired by Fin Martin, the team leader of Central Tablelands Local Land Services, the group aims to achieve maximum environmental benefits, while minimising impacts on other catchment users.
'The EWAG is made up of agency staff and stakeholders who have a common desire to use the available water for the environment effectively and for maximum benefit,' Mr Martin said.
Recent successes include:
- pelican breeding at Lake Brewster
- delivery of a much-needed follow-up inundation to more than 60,000 hectares of floodplain country, which led to the detection of the endangered Southern bell frog at ‘The Ville’
- successful bird-breeding events at the Booligal wetlands and Murrumbidgil Swamp
- delivery of a tributary flow to support recovery of native fish populations along the river.
Mr Martin sees the priorities for improving outcomes within the catchment as being:
- extension of long-term intervention monitoring (LTIM) periods, up to 10 years – enough time for riparian restoration activities to show all the benefits associated with water quality, macro-invertebrates, aquatic dependant species, population size and diversity, vegetation recovery and regeneration
- over-coming infrastructure constraints, including the Willandra weir and offtake
- meaningful community engagement and increased understanding of water delivery, constraints and outcomes
- effective and efficient decision-making during unplanned events including piggy backing onto sub-catchment flows.
The EWAG advises on the use of water for the environment from a number of sources including the environmental water provisions of the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan Regulated River Water Source 2003, adaptive water held by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (former Office of Environment and Heritage) and allocations made available from entitlements held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.
Range of stakeholders
Group members represent a range of stakeholders including the Aboriginal community, the Lachlan catchment community, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (EES), the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Lachlan Valley Water Users, WaterNSW and the Murray Darling Basin Authority (observer status).