Environmental flows help improve water quality and protect fish in lower Wakool River

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

Native fish in the NSW Mid Murray valley are benefitting from environmental flows.

This summer, more than 30 gigalitres – or 12,000 Olympic swimming pools – of Commonwealth environmental water was delivered to the region’s rivers and creeks.This included the increasing flows in the lower Wakool River to improve water quality and protect fish from threats associated with flooding.

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Dr Simon Banks said rainfall in January 2024 caused flooding in northern Victoria, which flowed into the Edward/Kolety Wakool River system.

“The floodwaters had low oxygen levels, which is unhealthy for native fish,” Dr Banks said.

“With the poor-quality water headed for the lower Wakool River, it posed a risk to the region’s native fish.

“Working with our NSW government partners, we released water high in oxygen into Yallakool Creek and Wakool River. By intervening early, before the floodwaters arrived, we helped to improve water quality and mitigate the impacts on native fish.”

Dr Banks thanked local landholders for their advice and support.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support we have received from landholders as it is key to improving the health of the lower Wakool River and making it great habitat for native fish,” he said.

Environmental flows continue to be delivered in the region over autumn. This includes providing flows in Yallakool Creek, Wakool River, Colligen Creek and Niemur River to attract golden perch into the rivers and creeks.

In the NSW Mid Murray, NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder work in partnership to deliver water for the environment.

Dr Banks will visit the region in the coming weeks to meet with community members.

The Edward-Kolety and Wakool River system:

  • is a major anabranch and floodplain of the River Murray, located in southern NSW.
  • consists of a network of inter-connecting rivers, creeks, flood-runners and wetlands and covers more than 1,000 square kilometres between the Murray and Edward Rivers.
  • supports over 20 significant native plant and animal species.
  • remains a major focus for the use of environmental water, especially as a nursery area for native fish, such as Murray cod.

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