Contact Us

x

Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Article

Environment flow to keep fish alive

Mar 27, 2019


 
Mt William Creek deep pool

Mt William Creek deep pool

 
GreatCormorant-MtWilliamCreek-360x253NewsGreat coromorant
An environmental flow has started in the upper Mt William Creek to keep a valuable fish population going until the sky delivers its next burst of natural flows.

 

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority is releasing water for the environment into a section of the drying reach of the upper Mt William Creek between Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale to preserve small native fish.

It is only the third time water for the environment has been released into this section of the creek, with previous releases in May 2015 and March 2016 when conditions were similarly dry.

Wimmera CMA prioritised this section of the creek for environmental flows after scientific surveys identified it provided valuable breeding and refuge habitat for native fish including Southern Pygmy Perch, Australian Smelt, Common Galaxias and Flatheaded Gudgeon.

Wimmera CMA chief executive David Brennan said monitoring showed that the 2015 and 2016 environmental watering provided important boosts for native fish, including triggering breeding of Southern Pygmy Perch.

He said with a wet 2016 the stream flow gauge at Mokepilly measured 35,022 megalitres of natural flows. In 2017 the gauge measured 3614 megalitres of natural flows.

“But last year the creek only had 264 megalitres of natural flows and the most recent survey results indicate that it is under stress. Water levels have dropped significantly, salinity levels are increasing and this has impacted on native vegetation and the native fish numbers.”

Lake Lonsdale Action Group member and Stawell Angling Club President Ray Howard said environmental watering was vitally important.

“There’s a good population of fish in that Mokepilly area but because it’s not getting any inflows and is on the verge of going dry, we need the environmental water to hold breeding stock and enhance this fishery into the future.”

Ray said it was important to keep rivers in good condition during dry times.

“Rivers are where a lot of our fish breed and when it’s dry like this, and our lakes are in a bit of trouble, it’s important to keep our rivers healthy so they can keep producing good fish,” he said.

“It’s a good little area around there, a good stretch of water which is very popular with the land-based anglers because it’s got good access. It has some deep holes and people can have a picnic and enjoy themselves, so it’s important we do everything we can to look after it.”

Environmental researcher Dion Iervasi from Austral Research and Consulting said it wasn’t unusual for the upper section of the Mt William Creek to become a series of isolated deep pools at this time of year but that things were especially dry.

“In hard times fish numbers suffer, and from our most recent surveys this appears to be the case. When Wimmera CMA did the first environmental watering in 2015 and 2016 it helped the fish get through to the next breeding cycle, which maintained and boosted fish numbers. We hope we will see a similar result this time.”

Researchers will return to the site for follow-up surveys to determine the benefits of the watering.

  • The flows are part of the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment to improve the health of waterways and catchments, and are authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2018-19.The VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2018-19 is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au.