Despite extremely dry conditions in the Murray and Lower Darling catchments in 2018–19, managed watering events resulted in significant ecological outcomes for native fish, habitat condition and system productivity.
In the Murray catchment, 142.7 gigalitres of water for the environment across 10 events targeted waterways, floodplains and multiple private property wetlands.
Co-ordinated flows involving water managers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder successfully connected the river system and floodplain wetlands on a landscape scale. These carefully managed events:
- triggered breeding and movement of native fish
- provided a boost in river and floodplain productivity to underpin the aquatic food web
- supported a myriad of wetland plants that provide important habitat instream and across the surrounding floodplains.
The threatened Southern bell frog was the focus of water delivered into 11 private wetlands during spring using the Murray Irrigation system and private pumping. Southern bell frogs were recorded at all targeted sites and juveniles observed at several locations indicated successful breeding.
Water was also delivered into the Thule Creek (near Barham) for the first time. Water was delivered in partnership with Murray Irrigation and supported by Thule Creek landholders.
Our Water for the Environment Program funded the upgrade of several significant water delivery points in the central Murray and installation of a brand new structure to increase the volume of water that can be delivered and the amount of habitat available to native wildlife.