Wetlands to have a drink

By Country News

Up to 6Gl of water will top-up the Little Reedy Wetland Complex from mid-July.

North Central Catchment Management Authority says dry conditions have seen the health of the three semi-permanent wetlands near Gunbower decline, affecting inhabitants including threatened white-bellied sea eagles.

The wetlands are home to a range of animals, including fish, waterbirds, rakali, mammals, frogs, turtles and wetland plants.

‘‘Water is central to providing all that,’’ North Central CMA program delivery acting executive manager Rohan Hogan said.

‘‘Whether it’s helping to grow the flowers and seeds, rushes or reeds or small fish and waterbugs, the right amount of water at the right times means life for all different kinds of animals.

‘‘The last thing any waterway needs is to become a monoculture.’’

Victorian Environmental Water Holder co-chief executive officer Beth Ashworth said the flows would coincide with the spring pulse in the Murray River.

‘‘We can’t water everything in a dry year and have to make careful choices about which parts of the environment we can look after,’’ Ms Ashworth said.

‘‘So we are focusing on our highly productive wetland habitats such as the Little Reedy Wetland Complex that support a large range of different ecological values.

‘‘With moderate rainfall over winter so far and carryover available for both irrigators and the environment, the top-up will provide an important drink for native plants and animals, especially the birds and small-bodied native fish.’’

Access to a handful of tracks around the Little Reedy Wetland Complex may be temporarily restricted over late winter and early spring due to water across access tracks.

However, the popular camping and fishing spots along Gunbower Creek and the Murray River will still be accessible, with the main two-wheel drive tracks remaining open.