Native fish, plants, animals like platypus and rakali (water rats) and waterbugs in the flow-stressed Moorabool River (Moorabool Yulluk) rely on water for the environment to survive, breed and grow in the highly regulated system.
For three years, West Gippsland has had consecutive wet seasonal conditions, including record breaking rainfall in high altitudes around Mount Baw Baw – the catchment which feeds into Melbourne’s biggest urban water storage – the Thomson Dam.
Yung Balug Clan have cared for the Boort Wetlands as part of a holistic cultural landscape for thousands of years, and it holds ancient lore and presence that is a vital legacy for Yung Balug people living on and managing the Boort landscape today.
In western Victoria in 2021-22, water storages remained low again in spite of recurrent La Niña events elsewhere. Storage inflows over the previous four years were comparable to the worst of the Millennium Drought.
The 2021-22 delivery of water for the environment to the Barmah-Millewa Forest was another step in a journey spanning more than 10 years to restore Moira grass on the floodplains, which in 2009 had fallen to just five percent of its original coverage.
The billabongs on the Birrarung (Yarra) River floodplains are an integral part of a complex and functioning ecosystem, that through river regulation and pressures of a growing capital city, often do not receive enough water to meet critical ecological needs.
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) acknowledges that Aboriginal people are intrinsically connected to Country and have been for tens of thousands of years. Over millennia, Aboriginal people have shaped, managed and cared for the land and waterways that sustain them. Deep and sophisticated Aboriginal knowledge systems have enabled the survival of the oldest living culture on Earth.
For the first time in over a century, native fish will be able to move freely between the Murray River and Gunbower Creek with the launch of two new fishways at Koondrook and Cohuna in northern central Victoria.
Taungurung Land and Water Council (TLaWC) is leading the way at Horseshoe Lagoon demonstrating how cultural values, environmental objectives and on-Country knowledge sharing are critical to long term water management, Healing Country and meaningful collaboration.
Monitoring results are in - showing that not only is water for the environment working, but that having the right data helps us get
better results from this limited resource, leading to more efficient and effective use of environmental flows in Victoria.
Technology and tradition are at the heart of this year’s Reflections 2019-2020.
Reflections 2019-2020 is the Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s annual publication celebrating the efforts and achievements of program partners, Traditional Owners and local communities who work tirelessly to protect our waterways.
When you hear about toxic blackwater events it’s often in conjunction with reports of severe fish deaths and floods. However, the truth about blackwater is more complex. In this article we explore blackwater in more detail.
Representatives from a wide range of community and government organisations met to hear and discuss latest developments in and about all things ‘Water for the Environment’, at the VEWH’s fifth Victorian Environmental Water Matters Forum.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates, commonly called waterbugs, are a very diverse group of creatures. There are lots of different types, some look very similar to each other while others look completely different.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (through Djandak) and North Central CMA are conducting vegetation monitoring and undertaking planting at the culturally significant Lake Boort site on the Loddon River floodplain.
The Coliban River is a highly-valued place within a wider catchment that is culturally significant to Dja Dja Wurrung people. Undertaking an Aboriginal Waterways Assessment, Dja Dja Wurrung representatives have recently measured the impact of environmental flows in the Coliban during very dry autumn conditions.
Taungurung Traditional Owners and the North East CMA have worked with the VEWH and Goulburn Murray Water to release water for the environment. In June 2019, 39 megalitres of water owned by Taungurung Land and Waters Council was delivered as an environmental flow to the King River.
West Gippsland CMA manages water for the environment for the lower Latrobe wetlands, Sale Common, Heart Morass and Dowd Morass. The three wetlands are an important component of the internationally recognised Gippsland Lakes Ramsar site and provide habitat for a variety of waterbirds of state, national and international conservation significance.
Celebrating culture and water, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, community members, Corangamite CMA and water industry partners from agencies such as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Central Highlands Water, Barwon Water and the VEWH met at Dog Rocks on the Moorabull yulluk to welcome the release of 500 megalitres of water for the environment.
Community members are a wealth of local knowledge. Sharing this knowledge can be instrumental in adapting water management decisions. North Central CMA and the VEWH have listened to feedback from community members in the Kerang Wetlands region, resulting in excellent outcomes for Lake Cullen.
An exciting trip hosted by Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) saw the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) Commissioners, Co-CEOs and executive team venture north. The group visited various sites getting into the nitty-gritty of environmental watering.
In the small town of Heyfield, located about 200 kilometres east of Melbourne and with a population of just under 2,000 people, the community has come together to bring water for the environment to the Heyfield Wetlands for the first time.
The Australasian bittern, currently listed as endangered in Australia, is a rather crafty bird that works hard to blend into its surrounding environment. Their streaky brown and white feathers and green stork like legs make it hard to spot between the reeds and rushes that grow on the bed of the wetlands and floodplains they like to live in.
Across Victoria, every year, there is a carefully coordinated effort to decide which river reaches and wetlands will receive water from the state’s environmental water holding. This planning process culminates in the release of the VEWH’s annual Seasonal Watering Plan.
With their long thin olive-green bodies, the short-finned eels aren’t much to look at, but these native Australian fish love to travel. The epic migration of the short-finned eel is supported by environmental flows which help them move from rivers, lakes and swamps out to the Coral Sea.
Water is the magic ingredient in the Australian landscape - its presence a flag that signals to our plants and animals when to bloom and breed and travel. But with many river systems altered beyond recognition, is there still a future for the many creatures that rely on the highs and lows of naturally flowing water? BirdLife Australia’s Darren Quin and the VEWH’s Bruce Paton examine the promising results of environmental water releases at Victoria’s Lake Cullen and reveal that all is not yet lost.
Are you interested in the status of native fish in Victoria? You can now access information or ‘report cards’ on the current status of native fish in priority rivers through the Native Fish Report Card website.
Just adding water for the environment is not the only factor
to consider for improving the health of rivers, wetlands and
floodplains; complementary works and measures are also equally important as part of ‘integrated catchment management’.
Bolin Bolin Billabong, located next to the Yarra River in Bulleen, is one of the few remaining billabongs in Melbourne. It used to have such a large eel population that it was able to sustain up to 500 Wurundjeri people over summer. The billabong is highly valued for ecological, cultural and liveability attributes.
A study into the value of water for the environment revealed the Wimmera River contributed $4.75 million to the economy in 2017, with fishing competitions providing major boosts – events which directly benefit from water for the environment.
Budj Bim rangers, a wildlife ecologist and Glenelg Hopkins CMA have undertaken detective work trawling for traces of environmental DNA (eDNA) along the Glenelg River in pursuit of an elusive character – the iconic platypus.
The Mallee Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) visited Hattah-Kulkyne National Park to see firsthand how water for the environment projects have improved the landscape – in particular, the health of the Hattah Lakes and floodplain.
Culture, environment and community came together to mark a significant occasion for the Barengi Gadjin Land Council (BGLC) and Wotjobaluk Traditional Owners, as a
program of environmental watering at The Ranch Billabong in Dimboola began on 14 December 2018.
Move over Skippy, we have a contender for the cutest little marsupial around. The Gile's Planigale (also known as 'Paucident Planigale') has brindled, cinnamon-grey fur, a triangular face and is similar in size to a match box.
Every year thousands of Victorians head to local waterways to catch fish. For those who keep Murray cod and golden perch for the dinner table, they can help the scientists at the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) to
discover how fish populations have benefited from water for the environment. All they need to do is simply hold on to a part of each fish that they would normally throw away – its 'ear bones'.
Baseflow, return flow, freshes, ramping up and ramping down… There’s a lot of technical terms when it comes to describing different types of environmental flows. To break through the jargon and help you understand what they mean, we’ve put together a list of some of our most commonly used terms about flows.
New technologies, such as smart phone apps and social media, can be amazing tools to involve your community in environmental management or scientific research. But with so much on offer, how do you choose which app to use?
Holding the title of the second longest river in Victoria, the extensive Loddon River travels the great distance of 430 kilometres. Introducing the Loddon River in the second of the Meet our Waterways series, highlighting how water for the environment benefits your river.
The Applied Aquatic Ecology Hub recently hosted a two-day forum ‘Water for the Environment: Share, Connect & Improve’ (WFE : SCI) that aimed to understand and improve the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of knowledge exchange in environmental water planning and decision making.
The first of the Meet our Waterways series introduces the mighty Glenelg River. Environmental watering has helped protect endangered animal species and supported significant cultural values for Traditional Owners along the Glenelg.
Rueben Berg is a Gunditjmara man passionate about the cultural connection to water that has existed for Aboriginal people for thousands of years.
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder welcomed Rueben as a Commissioner in September and he is already bringing a strong Aboriginal voice to the work of the water for the environment program.
A new publication Reflections: Water for the environment in Victoria demonstrates how vital Victoria's state-wide environmental watering program is for the state's rivers and wetlands, especially as the state continues to face weather extremes.
The Environment, Natural Resources and Environment Committee is holding an inquiry into the management, governance and use of environmental water. This is your chance to have a further say about the use of 'water for the environment' in Victoria.
It was the fifth Murray cod we had caught over the weekend, and our second around 75cm long. Dad said: "There are many more Murray cod in these rivers than there were in the 1970s. Someone's doing something right."
The platypus is a uniquely Australian species. Along with echidnas, platypus are part of an exceptional group of mammals which lay eggs, known as monotremes. Yet our ‘duck-billed’, egg-laying icon requires protection.
The connected river and floodplain systems of northern Victoria provide opportunities to achieve multiple environmental benefits as water flows through the system. One water release can hit several ecosystem targets in different locations as it moves downstream.
The aims of environmental watering in the Werribee system in 2014–15 were to promote black bream breeding in the estuary, and help small-bodied fish – such as galaxias, smelt and tupong – move between the fresh and estuarine sections.
While the Latrobe River benefited from the delivery of autumn freshes - watering that exceeds the base flow, lasting for one or several days - in 2014–15, the lower Latrobe wetlands continued an all-important drying regime.
During 2014–15, 155,308 ML of water was delivered to Gippsland’s Snowy River, while an important project continued to investigate the relationship between environmental water and Australian bass populations.
Work on a new environmental water management plan for the Macalister River began in 2014–15 as environmental water continued to target native migratory fish species, including the iconic and threatened Australian grayling.
Environmental water releases into the Ovens system in north east Victoria created connected pools and riffles (shallow sections of a river with rapid currents) and variable, more natural flows to provide food and habitat for waterbugs and other aquatic plants and animals.
Twenty one of the Wimmera–Mallee wetlands received environmental water in 2014–15, including seven wetlands in the North Central region, 10 wetlands in the Wimmera region and four wetlands in the Mallee.
Environmental water delivery to the Goulburn–Broken wetlands in 2014–15 focused on re-establishing vegetation and providing habitat for bird breeding after wildfire ravaged a number of the wetlands in early 2014.
All of the 12 Ramsar-listed Hattah Lakes received environmental water over 2013–14 and 2014–15, including Lake Kramen, which sits high on the floodplain surrounded by an important black box tree community.