At least 600Ml will flow through Gunbower’s Reedy Lagoon later this month, with the environmental flow aimed at recharging the lagoon.
The wetland is one of the few permanent wetlands in the mid Murray region that is in good condition according to Victorian Environmental Water Holder chairperson Denis Flett.
“Reedy Lagoon is in really good condition because of the work done over the previous decades,’’ he said.
‘‘It was one of the only wetlands to receive water during the millennium drought and it has been managed with water for the environment for the past 15 years.
‘‘That’s how important it is.’’
This year, more animals and plants are relying on it staying healthy according to North Central Catchment Management Authority’s program delivery executive manager Tim Shanahan.
‘‘Reedy Lagoon is important locally because it is critical habitat for endangered species and provides a seed source for the Murray River,’’ Mr Shanahan said.
‘‘There aren’t too many permanent wetlands in the region, especially with the drought in NSW. And those that are permanent are likely to be irrigation or recreation storages, which generally offer poorer quality habitat for waterbirds.
‘‘A lot of waterbirds bred in the forest and in Reedy Lagoon last year, and the area is also a hotspot for waterbirds coming south escaping the dry.’’
The water would begin to flow in late May, Mr Shanahan said, with the regulator to be fitted with a carp screen to stop adult carp entering the wetland in an effort to reduce impacts from carp on the aquatic plants.
‘‘Importantly, this is not the forest. It is a permanent lagoon. Many floodplains have permanent lagoons that sustain native birds and animals such as emus, kangaroos, snakes and all kinds of bugs and small mammals and animals, and Reedy Lagoon is no exception,’’ he said.
The VEWH is currently reviewing plans for 2019-20 to water two other semi-permanent wetlands in Gunbower Forest to ensure that, if dry conditions continue, enough high-quality habitat is available to support waterbirds and other wetland-dependent animals.