Directory of Important Wetlands

Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia - Information sheet

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Lower Goulburn River Floodplain - VIC052

Level of importance: National - Directory
Location: The Lower Goulburn River Floodplain extends for approximately 150 km downstream of Goulburn Weir (36 degrees 43' S, 145 degrees 10' E, 8 km north of Nagambie) to its junction with the Murray River (36 degrees 06' S, 145 degrees 47' E, 7 km east north-east of Echuca).
Biogeographic region: Riverina
Shire: Shire: Strathbogie, Greater Shepparton (City), Campaspe and Moira.
Area: 13 000 ha.
Elevation: 96 m ASL.
Other listed wetlands in same aggregation: VIC051 (Lower Broken River).
Wetland type: B14, B4
Criteria for inclusion: 1, 2,
Site description:
This floodplain forms a system separate from the floodplain upstream as its flow regime is directly controlled by the Goulburn Weir, which diverts water to the Shepparton Irrigation Region. The floodplain consists of a River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis open forest/woodland with smaller areas of Grey Box E. microcarpa open forest/woodland associated with Yellow Box E. melliodora, White Box E. albens and Black Box E. largiflorens occurring on higher ground within the forest. It includes seventy separate wetland sites, as listed in NRE 1995a, including Gemmill Swamp and Reedy Swamp State Wildlife Reserves and Loch Gary Wildlife Management Cooperative Area.
Physical features:
Geological setting: Recent alluvium fringed by Devonian-Silurian sediments and Devonian Broadford Formation sediments. Climate: Mean and median annual rainfall at Goulburn Weir are 548 and 552 mm respectively (BoM 1995a). Average annual evaporation at Tatura is c. 1375 mm (BoM 1995b). Mean and median annual rainfall at Kialla East are 497 and 505 mm respectively (Bo
M 1995a).
Hydrological features:
There are a large number and variety of permanent and temporary wetlands within the floodplain, including billabongs, sloughs, marginal swamps, potholes, scroll swales, anabranches and cut-off loops. Mean annual discharge in the Goulburn River at Goulburn Weir, Nagambie, is 1 340 000 (RWC 1990c). Mean annual discharge in the Goulburn River at McCoy Bridge is 1 680 000 megalitres; mean pH and mean conductivity are 7.0 and 228 EC respectively (RWC 1990c).
Ecological features:
The Lower Goulburn River is a high value wetland system for its ecological features. The floodplain consists of a large area of habitat for fauna such as waterbirds and fish. It has a wide variety of wetland types and is an excellent example of a major floodplain system.
The system provides a major area of natural ecosystems within a large, intensively cleared irrigation and grazing region. It forms an important breeding area for waterbirds (including many colonial nesting species). The Lower Goulburn River contains excellent examples of River Red Gum open forests and woodland communities (LCC 1991a).
Notable flora:
Threatened species: Western Water Starwort Callitriche cyclocarpa (Sr), Smooth Minuria Minuria integerrima (Sr), Waterbush Myoporum acuminatum (Sr), River Bitter-cress Rorippa eustylis (Sr), Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra (Sr), White Cypress-pine Callitris glaucophylla (Sd) and Buloke Allocasuarina luehmannii (Sd) have been recorded (LCC 1991a).
Notable fauna:
Composition: 34 waterbird species have been recorded at Gemmills Swamp (NRE 1995a). Numbers: The Lower Goulburn River Floodplain and woodlands fringing this system has supported at least 5% of the Victorian populations of Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis (Sr), White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster (I. Davidson, pers. comm.), Great Egret Egretta alba (Src) and Murray River Crayfish Euastacus armatus (R. Weber, pers. comm.). It also has supported 10% of the regional populations of Darter Anhinga melanogaster (Src) and Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia (Src) (R. Weber, pers. comm.). Counts of over 1000 ibis have regularly been made at Reedy Swamp (R. Weber pers. comm.). Threatened species: The Murray Cod Maccullochella peeli (Sv and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act) populations in the Lower Goulburn River and their habitat are highly valued because of the decline in their abundance elsewhere in Victoria (Anderson & Morison 1988). Other threatened fauna (Baker-Gabb 1991) recorded within or fringing the Lower Goulburn River Floodplain include the Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata (Si), Bush Thick-knee Burhinus magnirostris (Sv), Superb Parrot Polytelis swainsonii (Sv and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor (Sv), Grey-crown Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis (Sv), Lewin's Rail Rallus pectoralis (Sr), Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (Sr), White-bellied Sea-eagle (Sr and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Ground Cuckoo-shrike Coracina maxima (Sr), Painted Honeyeater Grantiella picta (Sr), Turquoise Parrot Neophema pulchella (Sr), Barking Owl Ninox connivens (Sr and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus (Si), Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla (Si), Great Egret (listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Brush-tailed Phascogale Phascogale tapoatafa (Sr), Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis (Sr), Large-footed Myotis Myotis adversus (Sr), Trout Cod Maccullochella macquariensis (Se and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica (Sv and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Silver Perch Bidyanus bidyanus (Sv), Murray Cod Maccullochella peeli (Sv and listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act), Freshwater Catfish Tandanus tandanus (Sv), Crimson-spotted Rainbowfish Melanotaenia fluviatilis (Sr), Golden Perch Macquaria ambigua (Sr), Unspecked Hardyhead Craterocephalus stercusmuscaram fulvus (Sr), Dwarf Flat-headed Gudgeon Philypnodon sp. (Si), Carp Gudgeon species complex Hypseleotris spp. (Si), Murray River Crayfish Euastacus armatus (Si), Barking Marsh Frog Limnodynastes fletcheri (Si) and Mountain Galaxias Galaxias olidus (Si). The Great Egret, Little Bittern and Blue- billed Duck have occurred at Gemmills Swamp (NRe 1995a). Breeding: The Australian White Ibis Threskiornis aethiopica, Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia (Src), Yellow-billed Spoonbill P. flavipes, Black Swan Cygnus atratus, Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa, Grey Teal A. gibberifrons, Musk Duck Biziura lobata, Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa, Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, Eurasian Coot Fulica atra and Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles have bred at Gemmills Swamp (NRE 1995a). One species listed by JAMBA and CAMBA, Lathams Snipe Gallinago hardwickii, and one species listed only by CAMBA, White-bellied Sea-eagle, have been recorded on the Goulburn River.
Other Fauna:
Social and Cultural values:
Recreation: The area of public land along the Lower Goulburn floodplain provides significant and varied outdoor recreation opportunities. Recreational usage and visitation levels vary from very high at recreation reserves between the urban areas of Shepparton and Mooroopna, to low along sections where access is difficult. Generally, due to the large number of access points to the floodplain and the extensive network of seasonal vehicle tracks within the floodplain forest, recreational use is dispersed over the length of the floodplain. Research: A number of studies have been undertaken along the Lower Goulburn River particularly in the fields of warm water ecology and environmental salinity impacts. The Murray Cod populations are important as a source of brood stock for the Native Fish Breeding Program based at Snobs Creek Fish Hatchery. Education: The Lower Goulburn River Floodplain is easily accessible from the large regional centre of Shepparton. Moira Park Scout Camp is on the banks of the Goulburn River and can cater for large numbers of Scouts. Aboriginal culture: The Lower Goulburn River Floodplain has high cultural value for its Aboriginal heritage. Sites include scarred trees, oven mounds and artefact scatters.
Land tenure:
The Lower Goulburn River Floodplain is mostly State Forest but includes public land later frontage reserves, Loch Garry Wildlife Management Co-operative Area, Reedy Swamp and Gemmill Swamp State Wildlife Reserve and land in the township of Shepparton. Surrounding area: Recreation Reserve.
Current land use:
Driving, motor bike riding, horse riding, nature study and picnicking, walking, camping, fishing, boating- including canoeing, duck hunting, water supply. Surrounding area: Grazing, irrigated cropping.
Disturbance or threat:
Past/present: Sedimentation due to land clearance, fertiliser runoff, higher groundwater due to irrigation.

Potential: Not known.
Conservation measures taken:
The Goulburn River has been listed as a Victorian Heritage River (LCC 1991a) and a draft management plan prepared (NRE 1997b). Two State Wildlife Reserves (Gemmill Swamp Wildlife Reserve: 173 ha and Reedy Swamp State Wildlife Reserve: 224 ha) and the Loch Garry Wildlife Management Co-operative Area (687 ha) are included within the floodplain: the wetlands of the floodplain have been grouped together in one entry because of their large number.
Management authority and jurisdiction:
Parks Victoria, Department of Natural Resources and Environment and private.
See Victoria Reference List
Compiler & date:
Parks, Flora and Fauna Division, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, September 1995.
AWRC Division: Murray-Darling