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Environmental watering in the lower Murray River System 2013-14

Environmental watering of Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth within Lower River Murray region in 2013-14

Status

14 March 2014: This action is in progress.

The environmental condition within the Coorong and Lower Lakes has shown significant signs of recovery during 2013-14. To support this positive trend, up to 100 GL of additional Commonwealth environmental water has been made available during March to June 2014 for the overarching purpose of maintaining and improving the site's ecological health and resilience. This volume of water is being provided in addition to 433 GL of Commonwealth environmental water that is already being delivered into the lower River Murray this year.

Commonwealth environmental water will contribute to increased barrage flows between March and June 2014 to support improvements in water quality in the River Murray channel, aquatic vegetation, macroinvertebrates, waterbird and fish habitat within the Coorong and Lower lakes, and contribute to flows to support an open Murray Mouth. In particular, the delivery of additional environmental water is expected to support on-going improvement in the condition and extent of the aquatic herb known as Ruppia tuberose which provides critical habitat for fish and invertebrate species in the Coorong Southern Lagoon.

This watering action will be managed in collaboration with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources South Australia, SA Water and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Environmental watering of Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace during 2013-14 to 2015-16

Status

10 December 2013: This action is yet to commence.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the Nature Foundation South Australia to achieve environmental outcomes in wetlands at Rilli Reach and Ramco River Terrace in the lower River Murray, South Australia.

Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use by the Nature Foundation South Australia between December 2013 and June 2016 at multiple sites along the South Australian River Murray. The use of environmental water will help to contribute towards improving native vegetation condition, reducing the local impacts of salinity and supporting waterbirds and frogs that rely on the region’s wetlands for reproduction and survival. Up to 80 ML is planned for delivery to wetlands in 2013-14.

This watering action will be managed by Nature Foundation South Australia in collaboration with local landholders, Loxton Waikerie District Council, Loxton Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Group, SA Water and the South Australian Government’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

Environmental watering of Clark’s Floodplain, Thiele’s Flat and Loxton Riverfront Reserve during 2013-14 to 2015-16

Status

10 December 2013: This action is in progress.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the Nature Foundation South Australia to achieve environmental outcomes in wetlands along the River Murray in South Australia.

Up to 775 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available for use by the Nature Foundation South Australia between October 2013 and June 2016. The use of environmental water will help to contribute towards improving native vegetation condition, reducing the local impacts of salinity and supporting waterbirds and frogs that rely on the region’s wetlands for reproduction and survival. Up to 250 ML is planned for delivering to wetlands in 2013-14.

This watering action will be managed by Nature Foundation South Australia in collaboration with local landholders, Bookpurnong-Lock 4 Environmental Association, Loxton Waikerie District Council, Loxton Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Group, SA Water and the South Australian Government’s Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

Locks 8 and 9 weir pools

Status

10 December 2013: This action is in progress.

About the watering

Up to 4000 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available to manipulate the weir pools of Lock/Weir 8 and 9 in the Murray River during July and December 2013.

Weir pool manipulation will increase the variability of in-stream baseflows and freshes, and is expected to contribute to:

  • supporting ecosystem recovery by improving the diversity, condition and extent of native vegetation
  • providing habitat for native fish, waterbirds and frogs
  • supporting organic matter processing and biofilm production.

This watering action has been developed in consultation with a range of key stakeholders, including the NSW Office of Water, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. It provides a key step in developing alternative and innovative ways to use existing infrastructure to maximise environmental outcomes. This action will be important for promoting weir pool manipulation elsewhere in the Murray River system. It is hoped the use of weir pool manipulation to achieve ecological outcomes will become a routine part of weir pool operations in the future.

Johnson’s Waterhole in the lower River Murray, South Australia

Status

10 December 2013: This action is in progress.

About the watering

Up to 500 ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available to provide flows to Johnson’s Waterhole between August 2013 and June 2016. This watering action will contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • increase the extent and condition of understory native plants and river red gums through improved soil quality (reduced soil salinity) and soil moisture
  • provide habitat that is suitable for supporting increased abundance and diversity of waterbirds within the Ral Ral floodplain.

This watering action will be managed by the Nature Foundation South Australia in cooperation with Renmark-Paringa Council and Renmark Irrigation Trust.

Lower River Murray Wetlands, South Australia

Status

10 December 2013: These actions are in progress..

About the watering

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office is working with the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board to implement watering of five wetlands along the South Australian River Murray: Weila Shedding, Carpark Lagoons, Morgan Conservation Park, Hogwash Bend and Maize Island. These watering actions will complement other natural resource management activities to support the rehabilitation of floodplain wetlands.

Up to 1,019ML of Commonwealth environmental water has been made available in 2013-14. These watering actions will contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • maintain and improve the condition, diversity and extent of floodplain and wetland native plants
  • improve the diversity and condition of native fish, frog and waterbird populations through maintaining suitable aquatic habitat and providing opportunities for breeding and recruitment.
  • improve ecosystem and population resilience through supporting ecological recovery and maintaining aquatic habitat.

These watering actions will be managed by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. For more information please see Pumping the wet into wet-land.