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Gunbower Forest, which covers 19,450 ha, is bounded by the Murray River to the north and Gunbower Creek to the south. It is an internationally significant site under the Ramsar Convention and forms part of the Living Murray Gunbower-Koondrook- Perricoota forests icon site. River regulation and water extraction from the Murray River and Gunbower Creek have reduced the frequency, duration and magnitude of flood events in Gunbower Forest. This has affected the extent and condition of floodplain habitats and the health of plant and animal communities (such as river red gum and black box communities, native fish, birds, platypus, frogs and turtles) that depend on those habitats.

Gunbower Creek is a natural creek that has been modified to supply irrigation water from the Murray River to the Torrumbarry Irrigation Area. There are 12 lagoons, largely located in the upper reaches of the creek system, that are permanently or seasonally connected to Gunbower Creek. Water for the environment is used in Gunbower Creek to improve habitat for native fish, especially Murray cod.

The Living Murray environmental works program in the middle and lower forest was completed in 2013. The works allow up to 4,500 ha of the wetlands and floodplain to be watered with considerably less water than would be required if the watering infrastructure was not in place. The works enable efficient watering through Gunbower Creek and the forest to maintain the

wetland and floodplain condition and provide connectivity between the creek, forest floodplain and the Murray River. Frequent connections between the river and floodplain habitats allow animals to move between habitats and support critical ecosystem functions (such as carbon exchange).

Traditional Owners

System map

Environmental watering objectives in Gunbower Creek and Forest

Provide feeding, breeding and refuge habitat for small-bodied native fish (such as Murray-Darling rainbow fish) in forest wetlands
Maintain and improve populations of large-bodied native fish (such as Murray cod) in Gunbower Creek
Increase the diversity and abundance of native frog species within the forest
Maintain the population of freshwater turtles by providing suitable feeding, breeding and refuge habitat
Connected icon
Support carbon and nutrient cycles in the forest and wetlands and periodically deliver carbon and nutrients from the forest to adjacent waterways to support food webs
Maintain and improve the health and increase the abundance of native vegetation in permanent and semi- permanent wetlands
Improve the health of river red gums and black box communities
Provide feeding, breeding and refuge habitat for waterbirds, including colonial nesting species (such as egrets, cormorants and herons)
Water icon
Maintain and improve water quality in Gunbower Creek

Environmental values

Gunbower Forest contains many important environmental values. It includes rare and diverse wetland habitats and large areas of remnant vegetation communities (such as river red gum forest and woodlands). It is home to vulnerable and endangered plants and animals, including river swamp wallaby grass, wavy marshwort, Murray-Darling rainbowfish and eastern great and intermediate egrets. Gunbower Forest also supports internationally recognised migratory waterbird species.

Gunbower Creek provides important habitat for native fish (such as Murray cod, golden perch and freshwater catfish). It is a valuable refuge for native fish and provides a source of fish to recolonise surrounding waterways.

Traditional Owner cultural values and uses

The Barapa Barapa are the Traditional Owners in the middle and lower area of Gunbower Forest, and the Yorta Yorta are the Traditional Owners in the upper Gunbower Forest.

North Central CMA seeks engagement and input from both Traditional Owner groups when undertaking annual water for the environment planning and throughout the year as part of the Living Murray Indigenous Partnerships Program.

Yorta Yorta custodians and Barapa Barapa custodians have clearly expressed their aspirations for an active role in the management of land and water, to fulfil custodianship obligations and contribute to improvements in the health of Country.

Yorta Yorta and Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners have provided feedback on watering priorities for 2022-23 in Gunbower Forest.

Increasing the involvement of Traditional Owners in the planning and management of environmental flows 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 5.2.7 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.

Billabong icon

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

Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners have been working in partnership with North Central CMA to deliver the Water for Country project in Gunbower Forest since 2015. The Water for Country project builds on the work of the previous Barapa Barapa Cultural Heritage Mapping of Lower Gunbower Forest project, delivered in 2013-14, to map a catalogue of cultural heritage assets in the forest. The Water for Country project aims to investigate how Traditional Owners’ cultural and spiritual values may be better represented in water management. In 2018, the Water for Country group evolved to also include Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners and continues to have a focus on Gunbower Forest.

Barapa Barapa Wamba Wemba Water For Country project members identified a range of opportunities for 2022-23 watering to support cultural values, which Table 5.2.5 shows.

Table 5.2.5 Cultural values and uses at Gunbower Forest as identified by the Barapa Barapa Wamba Wemba Water For Country project

Value/use

How the value/use will be considered by environmental flows in 2022-23

Cultural plants, cultural practices

  • Water   in wetlands and on the floodplain from deliveries of water for the   environment and natural flooding supports culturally important plants   throughout Gunbower Forest and allows the continuation of cultural practices,   including harvesting of food, medicine and weaving plants.
  • The   watering actions via the Hipwell channel in 2022-23 will support cultural   plants that Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners value and provide opportunities   for cultural practices to continue.
  • The   amount of cultural resources available is linked to the scale of watering   that can be achieved. Floodplain   watering via the Hipwell channel provides a greater amount of

resources and enables abundant harvests with less travel and effort to harvest the desired amount of resources.

  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners recognise the value of resources that occur on the   drawdown after the inundation of the forest floodplain, providing food for   animals and cultural plants (such as old man weed). This can be supported by   allowing wetlands to draw down naturally after receiving water to expose mudflats.
  • Having   a diversity of habitat and vegetation responses is a priority for Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners. They consider it important to have a range of   water depths, which creates a more diverse vegetation response and results in   a variety of resources becoming available over a longer period.
  • Delivering   water to the floodplain supports this by inundating wetlands of varying depth   and condition, which supports a variety of cultural and ecological values.

Healthy Country

  • Providing   drought refugia and maintaining areas with healthy habitat is a high priority for Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners. In   the absence of natural flooding, they feel it is

important to ensure that water is delivered to healthy areas (such as Reedy Lagoon) that elicit a good vegetation response and can support wetland and forest fauna.

  • Deliveries   of water for the environment will ensure water is present on the floodplain   and in high-priority wetlands regardless of whether there is flooding. This   will provide refuge habitat for forest fauna, and the delivery of water in   Reedy Lagoon ensures high-quality habitat is available.
  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners have also expressed the importance of looking after   areas that are in good condition by conducting follow-up watering. This will   be done by delivering the Hipwell channel environmental watering event to build on outcomes achieved by   the lower landscape watering in 2022.

Cultural heritage

  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners value having water in natural creeks and billabongs   off main wetlands, which can contain cultural heritage sites, including earth   mounds and a large canoe tree on the edge of a large flood runner.
  • Delivering   water to the floodplain supports this with water flowing through natural   creeks and floodrunners on the floodplain. Deliveries of water for the   environment result in lower levels than natural flooding, which can ensure   that earth mounds or other cultural heritage are not overtopped and harmed.
  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners have noted that areas of black box and river red   gum have cultural heritage values, but the changed watering regime since   regulation and climate change is causing the encroachment of black box into areas   previously dominated by river red gum. Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners   expressed the desire to preserve the tree community that was historically   present, which is supported by the delivery of water to the floodplain. The   lower landscape regulators can target small areas of river red gum, and the   Hipwell channel watering planned in 2022-23 will inundate large areas of   river red gum and potentially suppress black box encroachment within the   flood footprint.

Value/use

How the value/use will be considered by environmental flows in 2022-23

Cultural practices

  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners have aspirations to reintroduce traditional fish   traps into natural creeks within Gunbower Forest. The flood runners around   the Little Gunbower Creek Complex have been identified as potential trial   sites, and opportunities will be provided to pursue this in spring 2022.
  • Traditional   Owners have indicated that a smoking ceremony should be a regular activity   each year when water is delivered, as it is something that their ancestors   would have done when the floodwaters arrived and would represent a   restoration of an important cultural practice. The timing of deliveries of   water for the environment will be communicated to Traditional Owners so   cultural opportunities can be realised.

Cultural resources

  • Barapa   Barapa Traditional Owners have expressed that the ongoing survival of fish   populations is important as a food resource. Wetland fish populations   persisting in the Gunbower Forest wetlands following the 2021 watering event   will be supported by the large- scale Hipwell channel watering event,   ensuring a resident fish population persists across multiple years.

The Barapa Barapa Wamba Wemba Water for Country project has led to the creation of the Barapa Barapa Cultural Watering Objectives Framework, which is a guiding document to ensure cultural priorities and outcomes are considered and incorporated in the planning for and management of water for the environment. The framework considers cultural objectives matched with hydrological considerations, indicators and measures for monitoring success, which Table 5.2.6 shows. These objectives are considered in conjunction with the environmental objectives and expected watering effects for the potential environmental flows shown in Table 5.2.7.

Planning for water for the environment in 2022-23 included a field visit to Gunbower Forest in early 2022. The discussion during the field visit focused on the current condition of the forest, particularly around the wetlands and the dry river red gum forest, and how the 2022-23 watering actions will continue to support cultural objectives and protect cultural heritage.

Applying the framework during seasonal watering proposal engagement with the Barapa Barapa Wamba Wemba Water for Country project members will ensure that planned environmental flows incorporate Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners’ cultural aspirations and that water managers are culturally informed when delivering water for the environment.

All potential environmental watering actions in Table 5.2.7 provide the opportunity to support Barapa Barapa cultural values and objectives, but achieving them will depend on climatic conditions.

Social, recreational and economic values and uses

In planning the potential watering actions in Table 5.2.7, North Central CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses, including:

  • water-based recreation (such as boating, canoeing, duck hunting, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding and water skiing)
  • riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, camping, photography and walking)
  • community events and tourism (such as park visitation, tour and activity operators)
  • socio-economic benefits (such as consumptive water users, including irrigation and domestic use, timber harvesting and education)

Recent conditions

During 2021-22, rainfall and temperatures at Gunbower Forest and surrounding areas were close to the long-term average. Rainfall in north-east Victoria and south-east New South Wales was well above the long-term average, and it delivered high inflows to the Murray system and its storages. The wet conditions triggered managed releases from Hume Reservoir and frequent high flows in tributaries such as the Kiewa, Ovens and Goulburn rivers, which ensured unregulated flows in the Murray River for much of winter, spring and summer. Without river regulation, Gunbower Forest would have experienced significant flooding during 2021-22. The controlled releases from storages limited flow in the Murray River at Torrumbarry Weir to a peak of 24,400 ML per day in October, which is just below the threshold of an overbank flow into Gunbower Forest.

In 2021-22, allocations against high-reliability water shares reached 52 percent in August and 100 percent in October. Low- reliability water shares began receiving allocations in December and reached their full allocations in February. This is the first time Murray seasonal determinations reached maximum availability since the introduction of the current entitlement products in 2007. Spills from Hume Dam resulted in the deduction of most spillable carryover from 2020-21. Section 5.2 has more information about the resource position of water for the environment in the Victorian Murray system during 2021-22.

Deliveries of water for the environment for Gunbower Creek and Forest were managed in line with an average climate scenario throughout 2021-22. All planned watering actions for 2021-22 were achieved with a combination of water for the environment, natural flow and consumptive releases. While there was no overbank flooding in Gunbower Forest in 2021-22, some high-flow water from the Murray River did enter the forest via the lower-lying floodrunners, including at Shillinglaws and Barham Cut regulators, for two weeks during October. These inflows supplemented targeted deliveries of water for the environment to selected wetlands and surrounding low-lying floodplains and improved breeding and feeding habitat for waterbirds. Several species of waterbirds (including little pied cormorants, Australasian darters and threatened musk ducks) were reported breeding at Long Lagoon, Black Swamp and Reedy Lagoon in late spring and summer. Water for the environment was also used to top up lower landscape wetlands over summer to enhance outcomes for wetland vegetation that were triggered by winter and spring watering.

The first managed floodplain watering event in Gunbower Forest since 2018 is due to commence in June 2022. This event will be delivered via the Hipwell channel and aims to improve the condition of river red gums and their flood-dependent understorey, which require inundation events about seven out of every 10 years for optimal condition and to build their resilience to future dry periods.

The section of Gunbower Creek downstream of Gunbower Weir had no flow between mid-May and early August 2021 — the irrigation shut-down period — to allow construction of the Koondrook and Cohuna fishways. The flow was reduced gradually to less than 20 cm drawdown per day to allow fish to migrate to deep pools, which remained over winter. Monitoring conducted during the shut-down period confirmed that populations of small-bodied fish persisted in refuge pools, and fish-trapping at the new fishways in December 2021 demonstrated that native fish are using the structures to move between the Murray River and Gunbower Creek. Additional works may occur between May and August 2022. These works may require a full drawdown of Gunbower Creek upstream of Gunbower Weir for up to two weeks, which may temporarily affect local fish populations, but the long-term benefit of the fishways is expected to significantly improve native fish outcomes for the region. The drawdown will again be gradual and closely monitored.

Scope of environmental watering

Table 5.2.7 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 objective(s) they support. Each environmental objective relies on one or more potential environmental watering actions and their associated physical or biological effects.

Table 5.2.7 Potential environmental watering actions, expected watering effects and associated environmental objectives for Gunbower Creek and Forest

Potential environmental watering action

Expected watering effects

Environmental objectives

Gunbower Forest

Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation (with variable flow rates during winter/spring 2022)

Billabong icon
  • Continue floodplain watering commenced in June 2022 to inundate river red gums and the flood-dependent and flood-tolerant understorey species for the optimum duration to help recover condition
  • Maintain the depth and extent of water in wetlands to support the growth and successful recruitment of wetland vegetation following positive outcomes in 2021-22
  • Provide a variety of water depths throughout the forest to provide feeding, foraging and refuge habitat for frogs, turtles and waterbirds, including colonial nesting species and access to breeding habitat for small-bodied native fish
Fish iconFrog iconTurtle iconPlant iconHeron icon

Spring fresh in Yarran Creek (variable flow rates and duration based on water levels in Gunbower Forest and flows in the Murray River and Gunbower Creek)

Billabong icon
  • Provide connectivity between Gunbower Creek and Murray River through the Yarran Creek and Shillinglaws regulators, to increase flowing habitat for the lateral movement of native fish, turtles, carbon and nutrients
  • Provide migration and spawning opportunities for native fish

Fish iconTurtle iconConnected icon

Black Swamp, Reedy Lagoon, Little Gunbower Creek Complex, Little Reedy Wetland Complex (top-up, variable flow rates during spring/ summer as required in response to bird breeding or significant vegetation responses)

Billabong icon
  • Maintain adequate water levels in breeding and feeding habitats to allow breeding waterbirds to successfully fledge their chicks
  • Maintain adequate water levels in wetlands to extend the growth phase of wetland vegetation triggered by inundation earlier in the season

Plant iconHeron icon

Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation (with variable flow rates during autumn/winter 2023)

Billabong icon
  • Provide a second consecutive year of floodplain watering in 2023 to inundate river red gums and the flood-dependent and flood-tolerant understorey species for the optimum duration to help recover condition
  • Maintain the depth and extent of water in wetlands to support the growth and successful recruitment of wetland vegetation
  • Provide a variety of water depths throughout the forest to provide feeding, foraging and refuge habitat for frogs, turtles and waterbirds, including colonial nesting species and access to breeding habitat for small-bodied native fish

Fish iconFrog iconTurtle iconPlant iconHeron icon

Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation (with variable flow rates during autumn/winter 2022)

Billabong icon
  • Inundate river red gums and the flood-dependent and flood-tolerant understorey species
  • Provide access to breeding habitat and food resources for native fish (such as Murray cod)
  • Provide habitat for frogs, turtles, small-bodied native fish and waterbirds including colonial nesting species

Fish iconFrog iconTurtle iconPlant iconHeron icon

Gunbower Creek (targeting Koondrook Weir)

Year-round opportunistic fresh(es) (500 ML/day for one to four weeks, as required)

  • Deliver in response to high flow in the Murray River (if conditions allow) to:
  • promote the exchange of carbon between Gunbower Creek and the Murray River
  • provide a natural migratory cue for native fish to either:
  • - trigger the migration and spawning of native fish in the Murray River (during spring), or

    - attract native fish (such as golden perch and silver perch) to migrate into or to the upstream reaches of Gunbower Creek (during autumn), maximising the effect of the fishways at Koondrook and Cohuna weirs

Fish iconConnected icon

Autumn/winter low flow (50-200 ML/day during July to August 2022 and March to June 2023)

  • At 50 ML/day:
  • maintain a minimum level of connectivity between Gunbower Creek and lagoons during the off-irrigation period and/or when Hipwell channel is operational
  • prevent sections drawing down to isolated pools
  • At 200 ML/day:
  • maintain connectivity through the length of Gunbower Creek and between lagoons and fishways during the off-irrigation period to provide greater access to food resources over the cooler months, if natural inflows to Gunbower Forest are achieved

Fish icon

Trigger-based spring/ summer low flow (50- 300 ML/day as required during September to February)

  • Dilute carbon-rich water exiting Gunbower Forest at Three Corner Hole to improve water quality (oxygen concentrations) in lower Gunbower Creek if required

Water drop icon

Gunbower Creek (targeting Cohuna Weir)

Spring/summer/autumn low flow (300-400 ML/ day during September to March)
  • Maintain habitat and food resources for native fish and support breeding and larval survival (such as Murray cod) by minimising large variations in the water level during the irrigation season and achieving about 1.5 m depth in deeper pools and 30 cm depth in the shallow connecting littoral  zone to maintain habitat. A greater area of habitat will be inundated at the upper magnitude

Fish icon

Summer/autumn/winter fresh(es) flow (500 ML/ day for one to four weeks during July to August 2022 or January to June 2023, as required)
  • Increase flowing habitat in Gunbower Creek to provide providing preferred hydraulic conditions for native fish

Fish icon

Scenario planning

Table 5.2.8 outlines potential environmental watering and expected water use under a range of planning scenarios.

Gunbower Forest

The highest-priority potential watering action under all climate scenarios is to inundate the Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands via the Hipwell channel in winter/spring 2022 and winter/spring 2023. This is needed to prevent a fourth consecutive year without inundation, which would likely stress and see a drop in the condition of flood-dependent river red gums and their understorey vegetation. These vegetation communities rely on frequent inundation, and ecologists advise that flooding in consecutive years will consolidate improvements in vegetation condition and recruitment and therefore provide greater benefits than a single flood. The watering events aim to inundate about 4,500 ha (about 23 percent of the forest), which is the maximum inundation extent that can be achieved with deliveries of water for the environment. Deliveries may be modified to extend the duration or extent of any natural floods during the planned watering periods. If a second floodplain inundation event cannot be delivered in 2023, water for the environment will be used to top up selected wetlands in lower Gunbower Forest, likely in autumn, to maintain habitat for water-dependent plants and animals over autumn and winter.

There may be additional deliveries of water for the environment in Gunbower Forest in 2022-23 if particular environmental triggers are met. Water levels in selected wetlands in lower Gunbower Forest will be topped up as needed if flooding triggers a significant waterbird breeding event or notable vegetation response. If there are simultaneous high flows in the Murray River and Gunbower Creek, water for the environment may be used to deliver a spring fresh through Yarran Creek to transfer carbon and nutrients between Gunbower Creek, Gunbower Forest and the Murray River and encourage native fish to move into Gunbower Creek. Supporting fish movement through this region is important to optimise recolonisation after disturbances associated with recent fishway construction activities.

Gunbower Creek

Maintaining adequate low flow in Gunbower Creek during the irrigation shut-down period is a high priority in all years to maintain native fish communities. Channel works and reduced capacity due to the operation of the Hipwell channel are likely to limit the low-flow magnitude that can be delivered to the lower reaches of Gunbower Creek during winter 2022. The aim during this period will be to deliver sufficient water to maintain connections between deeper pools. Fish populations and water quality will be monitored during the planned works to determine whether these flows are adequate. If the monitoring identifies a significant risk to the fish populations or if the Hipwell channel is not operated at maximum capacity, flows of up to 200 ML per day will be passed downstream of Cohuna Weir.

Providing a stable flow of at least 300 ML per day over Cohuna Weir is a high priority during spring and summer under all scenarios to support Murray cod to breed and maintain habitat for small-bodied native fish. This flow may be met through a combination of consumptive releases and water for the environment. Maintaining a stable flow is less critical after the Murray cod breeding season, but a flow of about 300 ML per day will still be important between January and March to inundate the littoral zone, which provides food and cover for larval and juvenile fish.

There may be several trigger-based or opportunistic deliveries of water for the environment to Gunbower Creek under average and wet climate scenarios. These include dilution flows to mitigate against low oxygen levels (if natural floods wash significant volumes of carbon-rich water from Gunbower Forest into Gunbower Creek), as well as high flows triggered by a high flow event in the Murray River (to encourage fish movement between Gunbower Creek and the Murray River).

It will be important to reserve water for carryover to enable high-priority actions commenced in late 2022-23 to continue into early 2023-24. About 40,000 ML of carryover is required to continue watering the Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands through to spring 2023. About 16,000 ML may be required to maintain a low flow in Gunbower Creek in 2023-24, but this could increase to 20,000 ML under a drought scenario if there is lower demand by irrigators.

Planning scenario table

Table 5.2.8 Potential environmental watering for Gunbower Creek and Forest under a range of planning scenarios

Planning scenario

Drought

Dry

Average

Wet

Expected conditions

  • No natural inflow into Gunbower Forest
  • No natural inflow into Gunbower Forest
  • Minor natural inflow into Gunbower Forest may occur in winter/spring
  • Overbank flow is likely in winter/ spring

Gunbower Forest

Potential environmental watering – tier 1 (high priorities)1

  • Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation in winter/spring 2022
  • Spring fresh in Yarran Creek
  • Black Swamp, Reedy Lagoon, Little Gunbower Creek Complex, Little Reedy Wetland Complex top-up in spring/summer, if required
  • Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation in autumn/winter 2023
  • Extend natural flooding in Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands in winter/ spring 2022
  • Spring fresh in Yarran Creek
  • Black Swamp, Reedy Lagoon, Little Gunbower Creek Complex, Little Reedy Wetland Complex top-up, if required
  • Gunbower Forest floodplain, floodrunners and wetlands inundation in autumn/winter 2023

Potential environmental watering – tier 2 (additional priorities)

  • N/A

Gunbower Creek (targeting Koondrook Weir)

Potential environmental watering – tier 1 (high priorities)1

  • Autumn/winter low flow
  •  
    • Autumn/winter low flow
    • Trigger-based spring/summer low flow, if required

    Potential environmental watering – tier 2 (additional priorities)

    • N/A
    • Year-round opportunistic flow
     

    Gunbower Creek (targeting Cohuna Weir)

    Potential environmental watering – tier 1 (high priorities)1

    • Spring/summer/autumn low flow

    Potential environmental watering – tier 2 (additional priorities)

    • N/A
    • Summer/autumn/ winter fresh(es)

    Possible volume of water for the

    environment required to achieve objectives

    • Up to 115,000 ML (tier 1)
    • Up to 115,000 ML (tier 1)
    • 4,000 ML (tier 2)

    Priority carryover requirements for 2023-24

    • 60,000 ML
    • 56,000 ML

    1 Tier 1 potential environmental watering at Gunbower Creek and Forest is not classified into tier 1a and 1b because the water available for use is shared across various systems, and it is not possible to reliably estimate supply.

    Engagement

    Table 2 shows the partners and stakeholder organisations with which North Central CMA engaged when preparing the Gunbower Creek and Forest seasonal watering proposal.

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

    Table 2 Partners and stakeholders engaged in developing the Gunbower Creek and Forest seasonal watering proposal

    Partner and stakeholder engagement
    • Gunbower Island Community Reference Group
    • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
    • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
    • Goulburn- Murray Water
    • Murray- Darling Basin
    • Authority (the Living Murray program and River Operations)
    • Forestry Corporation of NSW
    • Parks Victoria
    • Vic Forests
    • Gannawarra Shire Council
    • Campaspe Shire Council
    • Individual landholders
    • Forestry
    • Field and Game Australia
    • Gateway to Gannawarra Visitor centre
    • Vegetation, fish and bird ecologists
    • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
    • Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners

    Page last updated: 01/12/22