Flows help fish

By Country News

About 100Ml a day will have flowed down the Loddon in the past week when an environmental flow came to an end on February19.

A further 40Ml a day will also flow down the Serpentine Creek through a three-day flow event.

North Central Catchment Management Authority environmental water manager Louissa Rogers said river regulation had resulted in artificial drought in some sections of waterways.

‘‘When you think that less than 20 per cent of Victoria’s water is allocated for the environment, and almost 60 per cent for irrigation, flows such as this one are really important,’’ Ms Rogers said.

‘‘Restoring native fish populations and building resilience in all our rivers, to prepare for whatever climate change throws at us, is something the community values strongly.’’

There are efforts Ms Rogers believes are paying dividends, with monitoring undertaken by the Arthur Rylah Institute showing significant increases in Murray-Darling rainbow fish in the Loddon and surrounding rivers.

The fish, which were once widespread across the basin, including in the Loddon River, suffered from the introduction of redfin and carp, as well as the impacts of river regulation.

‘‘They are still listed as vulnerable, but our water for the environment program is helping them make a comeback, in a big way,’’ Ms Rogers said.

‘‘We have done a lot of work in the past decade, especially since the end of the millennium drought, to rebuild rivers like the Loddon and restore the habitat and conditions native fish love.

‘‘We have put the right amount of water through the region at the right time which has created a productive environment for a lot of fish, frogs and other animals.’’