NATIVE fish in the Murray-Darling Basin are receiving a welcome drink following the unprecedented management decision to use environmental flows from two rivers to protect them and help them survive and thrive in the future.
Water from the Border Rivers and Gwydir Valleys will create an environmental flow in coming weeks that is designed to maintain healthy fish populations in the Barwon-Darling, which according to OzFish founder and CEO Craig Copeland is critical in protecting healthy fish populations.
“This is an historical event, it’s the first time in the Northern Basin we have seen environmental water from two dams on two separate rivers creating a flow that will not only improve water quality but also productivity for fish after such a long low flow period, only partially broken during recent natural events back in March.”
As Australia’s dedicated fishing conservation organisation, OzFish’s Mr Copeland welcomes the decision made possible by the NSW and Commonwealth Environmental Water Holders.
“Previously, this environmental water delivered down the Border Rivers and Gwydir valleys could legally be extracted when it hit the Barwon-Darling, but this flow and hopefully all similar future held environmental flows will be protected all the way down the river.”
Mr Copeland said the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office has funded fish and water quality monitoring, including evaluation as part of the planned flow.
“We know that NSW DPI Fisheries has made a huge effort to sample fish before this event and I would encourage all anglers on the Barwon-Darling to follow its progress, keep track of this flow as it moves down the system and report what they see.”
Fish community monitoring was completed at 9 sites from Louth to downstream of Wilcannia, with an intensive acoustic array system also established between Louth and Tilpa using 21 receivers and tagging 48 Golden Perch.
The health conditions of all fish were recorded at all sites, with fish at 8 of the 9 sites showing signs of stress.
Flows from the Gwydir hit the Barwon River at Collarenebri last Thursday (currently approximately 1,100 ML/d @ Collarenebri) and flows from the Border Rivers hit Mungindi on Saturday (currently approximately 400 ML/d @ Mungindi). These flows are still anticipated to hit Wilcannia early June with a flow target between 200-400 ML/d.
You can follow the flow HERE.
If you suspect illegal activity report it HERE.