Water to flow to Lake Cullen
20 October 2016
The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is taking advantage of a rare opportunity to put floodwater into Lake Cullen, near Kerang, to provide food for the expected post-flood bird boom.
Lake Cullen is an important part of the internationally recognised and protected Kerang Wetlands Ramsar site, and is valued for its large size and its unique environment, which is used extensively by waterbirds to forage for food.
North Central CMA Environmental Water Manager Louissa Rogers said Lake Cullen's uniqueness also has drawbacks when it comes to managing flows.
"Because of the way the water table works in with the surrounding marshes, the only time you can fill Lake Cullen is when the adjacent wetlands are soaked," she said.
"Each year we develop plans to fill Lake Cullen if conditions are right, and they hardly eventuate. This year they have. The conditions are exactly as we need.
"We have advised Goulburn Murray Water to put between 3GL and 5GL into Lake Cullen to make sure we don't miss this opportunity if there is no more flooding.
"This flow will still leave about 8-10GL of airspace to deal with Loddon River flood mitigation if it is needed. Protection of the Kerang township and surrounding communities is paramount."
Ms Rogers said once the flood risk passes, environmental water will be added to Lake Cullen.
"Lake Cullen is a brackish wetland, so an environmental flow will provide a perfect breeding ground for aquatic vegetation and waterbugs, which will result in a food boom for birds," she said.
"Given we are expecting these floods to trigger a large bird-breeding event throughout the region, this is a rare opportunity to provide enough food to feed the next generation of birds.
"Since the 2011 floods, managing the Kerang wetlands has been about helping the animals and plants survive. We now have a rare opportunity to help them thrive.
"Lake Cullen is also a popular recreational lake, and these flows will also provide a rare opportunity for a whole host of recreational opportunities."
Communications Officer, North Central CMA
PO Box 18, Huntly VIC 3551
t: 03 5448 7124