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These wetlands are on Country of the Yorta Yorta People, whose knowledge is evident throughout the landscape. Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp are red gum swamps near Numurkah. Moodie Swamp is a cane grass wetland adjacent to upper Broken Creek at Waggarandall that provides excellent breeding habitat for brolga.

The water regimes of these wetlands are influenced by their position in the landscape. The development and operation of the Shepparton and Murray Valley irrigation districts have changed the natural flow paths and the timing, frequency, volume and duration of natural flooding to these and other wetlands in the region. Existing irrigation system infrastructure enables water for the environment to be delivered to the three nominated wetlands, but under existing agreements, irrigation deliveries have priority within the channel system. This limits the volume of water that can be delivered to the wetlands. The VEWH, waterway managers and storage managers adjust the timing and rate of environmental deliveries where possible to optimise environmental outcomes within the current system constraints.

Proportion of water entitlements in the Broken system held by private users, water corporations and environmental water holders on 30 June 2020

Traditional Owners
Storage manager
Environmental water holder

System map

Environmental watering objectives in the Broken wetlands

Plant icon
Maintain or improve the cover, diversity, recruitment/regeneration and growth of native wetland plant species, consistent with ecological vegetation class benchmarks.
Reduce the cover and diversity of exotic plant species.
Maintain populations of rigid water-milfoil
bird icon
Provide breeding habitat for waterbirds

Provide feeding and roosting habitat for waterbirds
Frog icon
Provide breeding habitat for frogs

Environmental values

Moodie Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp support a high diversity of vegetation communities ranging from river red gum to cane grass dominated. The wetlands contain state and nationally threatened vegetation communities and species, including ridged water-milfoil and river swamp wallaby grass. The wetlands also provide food resources and breeding habitat for bird species of high conservation significance (such as eastern great egret, Latham’s snipe, white-bellied sea eagle, Australasian bittern, brolga, royal spoonbill, yellow-billed spoonbill, Australasian shoveler and glossy ibis). Many of these species are listed in international agreements and conventions.

Traditional Owner cultural values and uses

Goulburn Broken CMA consults with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation when planning deliveries of water for the environment in the Broken system.

Currently, water for the environment can only be delivered to Broken wetlands in Yorta Yorta Country. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the CMA are working to ensure that planned watering actions at Black Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Moodie Swamp align with the conservation and protection of cultural sites and allow for connection to Country and the establishment of strong linkages. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation has been involved in planning through online meetings and on-Country visits and by providing content for, reviewing and endorsing the Broken wetlands seasonal watering proposal.

Increasing the involvement of Traditional Owners in the planning and management of water for the environment and ultimately providing opportunities to progress towards self-determination within the environmental watering program is a core commitment of the VEWH and its agency partners. This is reinforced by a range of legislative and policy commitments, including the Water Act 1989, the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework, the 2016 Water for Victoria and in some cases, agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010.

Where Traditional Owners are more deeply involved in the planning and/or delivery of environmental flows for a particular site, their contribution is acknowledged in Table 5.5.5 with an icon. The use of this icon is not intended to indicate that these activities are meeting all the needs of Traditional Owners but is incorporated in the spirit of valuing their contribution and indicating progress towards deeper involvement.

Traditional owners

Watering planned and/or delivered in partnership with Traditional Owners to support cultural values and uses

Black Swamp and Kinnairds Wetland have significant diversity within the landscape, and multiple varieties of nardoo (a food source), native grasses (such as old man weed and sneezeweed, which have medicinal uses) and sedges and rushes (used for basket weaving) are in the area. Each of the sites, including Moodie Swamp, supports a wide array of bird life and other animals that provide a variety of cultural values. At Black Swamp, there is evidence of cooking mounds around the perimeter, and there are basket weaving sedges at Moodie Swamp.

Traditional Owner icons in the tables below indicate which proposed watering actions support these values.

Social, recreational and economic values and uses

In planning the potential watering actions in Table 5.5.5, Goulburn Broken CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses, including:

  • water-based recreation (such as canoeing)
  • riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, camping, picnicking, photography and walking)
  • community events and tourism (such as community gatherings at Kinnairds Wetland and the Walk and Squawk event)
  • socio-economic benefits (such as tourism, which is a large contributor to the local economy).

Recent conditions

Rainfall in the Broken catchment during 2021-22 was close to the long-term average, and significant rain events in June 2021, September 2021 and January 2022 contributed some local run-off to the region’s wetlands. Allocations against high-reliability water shares in the Goulburn, Murray and Broken systems reached 100 percent by mid-October 2021, which meant there was sufficient supply to meet planned deliveries of water for the environment.

Deliveries of water for the environment for the Broken wetlands were managed in line with an average climate scenario in 2021-22, and all planned watering actions were fully achieved through a combination of water for the environment and natural inflows. All three wetlands are ephemeral systems that rely on wet and dry phases to support ecological processes.

For the second year in a row, Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp were filled in spring and allowed to draw down and dry by summer. Moodie Swamp was originally going to be filled in autumn 2022, but natural inflows during winter 2021 attracted brolga to the site, so deliveries of water for the environment were brought forward to spring 2021 to encourage the birds to nest and breed. Specific responses to deliveries of water for the environment in 2021-22 included the vigorous growth of newly planted river red gum saplings at Black Swamp, spotted marsh frogs breeding at Kinnairds Wetland and brolga feeding and courting at Moodie Swamp. Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp dried by the end of 2021-22, but Moodie Swamp still held some water.

Scope of environmental planning

Table 5.5.5 describes the potential environmental watering actions in 2022-23, their expected watering effects (that is, the intended physical or biological effects of the watering action) and the longer-term environmental objectives they support. Each environmental objective relies on one or more potential environmental watering actions and their associated physical or biological effects.

Table 5.5.5 Potential environmental watering actions, expected watering effects and associated environmental objectives for the Broken wetlands

Potential environmental watering action

Expected watering effects

Environmental objectives

Black Swamp (partial fill in autumn and top up as required)

Traditional owners

  • Promote the growth of planted river red gum saplings and improve the condition of Red Gum Swamp Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) vegetation, including river swamp wallaby grass
  • Provide habitat and food resources to support waterbirds and frogs
Plant iconFrog iconBird icon

Kinnairds Wetland (fill in autumn and top up as required)

Traditional owners

  • Promote the growth and improve the condition of Red Gum Swamp EVC and Plains Grassy Wetland EVC vegetation, including rigid water-milfoil
  • Provide habitat and food resources to support waterbirds and frogs
Plant iconFrog iconBird icon

Scenario planning

Table 5.5.6 outlines potential environmental watering and expected water use under a range of planning scenarios.

A partial fill of Black Swamp and a complete fill of Kinnairds Wetland in autumn 2023 are high priorities across all climate scenarios. The timings of the proposed fills will allow the wetlands to experience a slightly longer dry phase than they have in recent years. This will enhance nutrient cycling processes without exceeding the dry tolerance interval of red gum swamp vegetation communities. These watering actions may be brought forward to spring 2022 if wet conditions naturally inundate the beds of the wetlands and disrupt dry-phase ecological processes.

Moodie Swamp was still holding water in autumn 2022. Active watering is not planned in 2022-23 to allow it to complete a dry- phase cycle.

Planning scenario table

Table 5.5.6 Potential environmental watering for the Broken wetlands under a range of planning scenarios

Planning scenario

Drought

Dry

Average

Wet

Expected river conditions

  • Catchment run-off and natural flow into the wetlands are highly unlikely
  • Catchment run-off and natural flow into the wetlands are unlikely
  • Some catchment run-off and natural flow into some of the wetlands are likely, particularly in winter/spring
  • Catchment run-off and natural flow into the wetlands may significantly contribute to water levels in

the wetlands, particularly in winter/spring

Potential environmental watering – tier 1 (high priorities)

  • Black Swamp
  • Kinnairds Wetland
  • Black Swamp
  • Kinnairds Wetland
  • Black Swamp
  • Kinnairds Wetland
  • Black Swamp
  • Kinnairds Wetland

Potential environmental watering – tier 2 (additional priorities)

  • N/A

Possible volume of water for the environment required to achieve objectives

  • 680 ML (tier 1)
  • 680 ML (tier 1)
  • 680 ML (tier 1)
  • 340 ML (tier 1)

Engagement

Table 2 shows the partners and stakeholder organisations with which the Goulburn Broken CMA engaged when preparing the Broken system seasonal watering proposal.

Seasonal watering proposals are informed by longer-term plans such as regional catchment strategies, regional waterway strategies and environmental water management plans and other studies. These plans incorporate a range of environmental, cultural, social and economic perspectives and longer term integrated catchment and waterway management objectives. For further details, refer to the Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy and Goulburn Broken Waterway Strategy.

Table 2 Partners and stakeholders engaged in developing the Broken system seasonal watering proposal

Partner and stakeholder engagement
  • Goulburn Murray Landcare
  • Goulburn Valley Environment Group
  • Turtles Australia Inc.
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Moira Shire Council
  • Parks Victoria
  • Individual landholders who are on the Goulburn Broken Wetland Management Group
  • Landowners that adjoin wetlands that receive water for the environment and/or use the delivery channel
  • Trelly’s Outdoor
  • Individual community members on the Broken Environmental Water Advisory Group
  • Field & Game Australia
  • Scientists and consultants on the Goulburn Broken Wetland Technical Reference Group
  • Taungurung Land and Waters Council
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Page last updated: 01/07/22