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22 October 2009
Environment Minister Peter Garrett has approved the expansion of the Cotter Dam near Canberra with strict environmental conditions.
“My department has undertaken a thorough environmental assessment of the proposal and has determined that the impacts on nationally protected matters will be effectively managed.
“This is a good outcome—it provides water security for the Canberra region and at the same time the stringent conditions I have imposed will ensure that threatened species will be properly protected.” Minister Garrett said.
“The species of particular concern to me in this instance are the Murray cod and the Macquarie perch. ACTEW will fund and implement a fish management plan to ensure any impacts on the Macquarie perch are acceptable.
“Road crossings upstream will be modified to allow access to additional spawning habitat for the Macquarie perch. ACTEW will also create and install artificial habitat suited to the species.
“In approving this project I have also imposed conditions that significantly increase the minimum downstream flow requirements for the Cotter River to 34ML per day which is more than double the current flows. This increased environmental flow will support the health of the downstream environment, and in particular will ensure the protection of the Murray cod that live below the dam.
“The assessment and approval process set out under national environment law is thorough and open, and there have been opportunities for members of the public to have a say,” he said.
The approval and conditions can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=4524