Wetland rejuvenated

By Country News

Kinnairds Wetland near Numurkah has been rejuvenated with a 400Ml environmental flow.

Although originally planned to be up to 500Ml, recent rains reduced the amount of water that was required to maintain vegetation that provides shelter and habitat for wildlife.

The local visitor centre reports the majority of the 6500-plus visitors to the town each year head to the wetland, which has bird hides, picnic areas, board walks and walking and cycling trails.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority said over the years river regulation — channels, weirs and dams — altered the natural path, timing, frequency, volume and duration of water flowing into the wetland, which meant it was often inundated unseasonally and/or all year round.

This has affected the wetland’s native vegetation and wildlife and created drainage and salinity issues in the surrounding landscape.

However, in the 1990s infrastructure was developed as part of the community-led Muckatah Depression Main Drain project to improve drainage for more than 60000ha of nearby farmland and allow better control flows into the wetland to restore more natural wetting and drying patterns.

‘‘The infrastructure allows us to deliver water for the environment in spring, a key breeding time for wildlife,’’ Goulburn Broken CMA chief executive officer Chris Norman said.

‘‘As a result, threatened species such as royal spoonbills and Australasian bitterns — as well as frogs, brolga, ducks and magpie geese — have returned to the wetland,’’ he said.

‘‘As well as supporting wildlife, the wetland helps reduce nutrient and sediment discharge from the surrounding farmland entering Broken Creek, improving water quality for the creek’s native fish population and for downstream communities and irrigators.

‘‘In addition, this infrastructure allowed us to deliver water for the environment to the wetland after the devastating 2014 fires, which helped this important environmental and recreational site recover.’’

The last time water for the environment was delivered to the wetland was in late 2015.