Annual environmental water priorities in the Murray and Lower Darling Baaka catchments

In 2021–22 water managers will continue to build on gains of previous years by maintaining habitat that supports colonial nesting waterbirds, providing connectivity, refuge and dispersal flows for large-bodied native fish, and supporting river red gum forest ecosystems.

Priorities for 2021–22

In 2021–22, water managers in the Murray and Lower Darling Baaka will target a range of outcomes.

Watering events are planned for the Murray Valley national and regional parks to support sites that contain nesting Australasian bitterns and other native birds.

Deliveries are planned to promote waterbird breeding at both Lake Agnes for species such as blue-billed ducks and Pollack Swamp for egrets, herons and little bitterns.

A Murray River multi-site event is planned from Hume Dam to South Australia to support native fish and instream productivity, along with fish flows in the Edward-Wakool and Murray Irrigation systems. 

A spring event in the Lower Darling Baaka River will help restore native fish populations, with potential for a flow down the Great Darling Baaka Anabranch. 

Flows will be delivered to private wetlands, providing critical habitat for southern bell frogs and promoting vegetation and other wildlife.

Deliveries will provide connectivity between several sites in the Murray. This will support in-stream vegetation, water quality, waterbird and native fish breeding, and carbon exchange (food web) outcomes.

A cultural flow is planned in the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest, also benefiting vegetation, birds and connectivity.

Further details on watering priorities for 2021–22 can be found in the Murray and Lower Darling Baaka Catchment – Water for the Environment: Annual Priorities (PDF 2.3MB).

Highlights from 2020–21

During 2020–21, the Department of Planning Industry and Environment (the Department) partnered with Murray Irrigation, private landholders and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office to deliver water into the Tuppal, Thule, Jimaringle-Cockran, Buccaneit, Yarrein and Murrain-Yarrein creeks for water quality, in-stream vegetation, waterbirds and native fish outcomes. 

Monitoring in the Wakool River showed the return flows from Thule Creek were rich in carbon, nutrients and a diversity of bugs and microbes, boosting the quality and abundance of food for top-end predators like Murray cod and golden perch.

The Department continued to deliver water into several private property wetlands in the central Murray and lower Murray to support recovery efforts for the endangered southern bell frog, being one of the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species projects.