Delivering flows to maintain water quality in remnant pools is vital to maintain habitat quality and provide refuge for iconic species such as Murray Cod and Golden Perch. However, there are a number of inherent risks with delivering water through a dry system and we want to tell you all about them.
The year that was 2020 put a lot of things out of whack for the majority of us. While the fish, frogs and birds of the Warrego-Darling river systems were seemingly unaware, the Flow-MER team came across a few challenges in keeping a close eye on our study locations. Early 2020 saw the greatest flows through the Warrego-Darling since ages (or at least the commencement of our monitoring in 2014). Due to COVID-19 restrictions we couldn’t get on the ground to see this inundation and its ecological impact in person, therefore, we had to adapt. Thanks to modern technology, there were a few ways that our team continued to gather data to help inform important management decisions, ensuring the health of these systems- the fish, frogs and birds didn’t suspect a thing!
The Gwydir River valley is home to a diverse range of aquatic species that rely on flows of fresh water to survive and thrive. The 2019 calendar year was the driest on record and the drought saw record low rainfall which led to sustained periods of no flow. Very dry conditions combined with high temperatures and local bushfires had to place a lot of pressure on the plants and animals of the Gwydir. In this little story we’ll provide some insight into how the system responded.
Dr Sarah Mika is a lover of water and the life that teems in its presence. From water quality to microinvertebrates to macroinvertebrates, Sarah is passionate about the small things that make wetlands boom. In this story Sarah tells of this passsion; how it started while studying and playing in the coastal rivers of NSW and how it’s fuelled now by researching various wetlands of the northern Murray-Darling Basin for the CEWO’s Flow-MER Project.
Releasing a tagged Murray cod. Photo: NSW DPI Fisheries
The last four years have been the driest on record across much of the northern Murray-Darling Basin, despite rain earlier in 2020, and the current La Nina. Parts of the Barwon River have not flowed for over 60 days, and the river is drying back to waterholes. So, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) have coordinated for freshes of water for the environment to be released down 200+ km’s of the upper Barwon system between December 2020 and January 2021.
Click the links below for further updates:
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) have released Edition #3 of Going with the Flow. Check it out for a summary of the latest basin-wide monitoring activities for the MER project.
A basin-scale highlights map is also available below for a brief on how our rivers and wetlands were tracking over winter/spring 2020.
Image: Murray cod : Maccullochella peelii peelii in the Gwydir River. Photo – NSW DPI Fisheries
What is the first fish species that pops into your head when you think of the Murray-Darling Basin? I bet it’s the Murray cod, or Guduu in Gamilaraay language (pictured above). You might remember a family fishing trip and cod on the BBQ. Or maybe you have just seen pictures or film of Australia’s largest freshwater fish…
Read our story on how environmental water flows support the Murray cod breeding season:
Water for the environement will complement recent natural flows to support the replenishment of channels and wetlands in the Gwydir valley between late spring and summer 2020-21. These flows aim to help native fish survival by providing access to refuge habitat and food, increase connectivity within the Gwydir system and improve water quality in pools.
Exciting news! From October to December the Macquarie River and Marshes are being refreshed by water for the environment. These flows aim to support Murray cod breeding amongst many other wetland ecosystem functions.
Click below for more details:
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