Goulburn River to get a refresh

Water for the environment is due to be delivered along the lower Goulburn River from mid-July. Photo by Simon Bingham

A delivery of water for the environment along the lower Goulburn River, downstream of the Goulburn Weir, is planned from mid-July.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s Simon Casanelia said the water release would help maintain the health of the river by depositing seed-rich sediment on the banks.

The sediment helps bank-stabilising plants to grow, and maintains habitat for water bugs and native fish.

“It will also increase the habitat available for native fish, platypus and water bugs by inundating connected anabranches and wetlands,” Mr Casanelia said

He said the fresh would peak in late July at up to 9500Ml/day (a river height of 5.6m at Shepparton) before slowly dropping back to about 1000Ml/day (a river height of 2.7m at Shepparton) in early August. This is well below the minor flood level of 9.5m at Shepparton.

Mr Casanelia said the fresh aimed to use natural tributary inflows as much as possible, as they were rich in sediment and seed, instead of releases predominantly from Lake Eildon.

“If there is heavy rain, environmental flow releases may be reduced or stopped,” he said.

“Releases of water for the environment are designed to mimic the natural flows that would have occurred before the river was dammed and regulated, although they are often much smaller than the flows that would have occurred naturally.”

The response of bank vegetation, bank condition, fish, stream metabolism and water bugs to the delivery of environmental water is assessed by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s Lower Goulburn River Monitoring Evaluation and Research project.

To check flows in the Lower Goulburn, view the hydrograph on Goulburn Broken CMA’s website, which is updated weekly: