Low water at Reedy Lake to restore wetland
21 February 2017
Where possible, environmental water managers mimic the wetting and drying phases of wetlands that happened naturally. Many wetlands will not thrive without wetting and drying phases, because each phase achieves different purposes at different times.
The construction of dams, weirs, and channels has resulted in many wetlands either being disconnected from rivers or permanently connected to rivers or channels. This means that some wetlands do not get as much water as they used to, and others get too much. The illustration below explains the benefits of wetting and drying.
Reedy Lake, near Geelong, is an example of a wetland that has been allowed to dry.
This year the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) implemented a low water level regime at Reedy Lake to protect the wetland's ecology in line with the 2016/17 Victorian Seasonal Watering Plan.
While reeds are an important part of the ecosystem, they are reducing the amount of open water in the wetland. This loss of habitat is impacting on endangered coastal saltmarsh communities and the number and diversity of internationally important migratory waterbirds the wetland supports.
Alice Knight, Chairperson of the Corangamite CMA, said, "If we don't act, one of the last remaining areas of endangered coastal saltmarsh communities in the Corangamite region will be lost - the dominant reeds will choke the wetland, carp will multiply and the wetland will no longer be able to provide a haven for a range of internationally important birds.
"Lowering water levels at Reedy Lake is an important management action that we believe will mitigate threats to the system and ensure all user groups can continue to use and cherish the lake into the future."
The water management regimes for the Lake Connewarre wetlands have been established through extensive scientific investigations and after thorough consultation with Corangamite CMA's Lower Barwon Community Advisory Committee and the broader community. The low water levels at the wetland may affect site access for duck season opening this year.
Trent Leen, President of Field and Game Geelong, said, "Field and Game Geelong is very supportive of the low water level regime and its role in supporting the long term restoration of biodiversity in Reedy Lake.
"We understand that this will have some impact during duck season this year from the season opening through till the autumn break when river flows are higher enough for the inlet to be opened. We encourage people to visit the Game Management Authority's website to find other suitable locations."
For further information including a project fact sheet and frequently asked questions- refer to the Corangamite CMA.
Editor's note: Since this story was first published, water for the environment started being delivered to Reedy Lake again in response to increased autumn flows in the Barwon River and in line with the seasonal watering plan .
Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
Tel: 5232 9100