The Loddon's long liquid lunch
13 December 2016
The Loddon River is not just the largest river in north central Victoria, it is the pride of our region.
It is popular for anglers and water skiers, and supplies water to hundreds of irrigators along its 392km journey from the Great Dividing Range to the Murray River.
The Loddon River is also rich in Aboriginal heritage, with scarred trees and shell middens commonly found throughout the system.
It is also an environmental gem, feeding the internationally-recognised Kerang Wetlands and providing a home for many threatened species.
Protecting those species and helping the native fauna and flora that rely on the river to survive is a constant battle. In 2002, the river downstream of Cairn Curran Reservoir was officially listed as "stressed".
A large-scale restoration project that complemented river flows ran until 2012, working with the local community to create significant change.
The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is still working to build resilience along the river, through environmental flows and the Native Fish Recovery Plan.
Those plans are about to take another important step forward.
"In the next week or so we will be putting a flow down the river, all the way from Cairn Curran and Tullaroop reservoirs to the Little Murray River, an anabranch of the Murray," North Central CMA Environmental Water Manager Louissa Rogers said.
"A small part of this flow will also make its way into Serpentine Creek, which is the first time environmental water has entered that waterway. That's great news."
About 100ML a day in total will be released from the reservoirs over four days and the flow will take about two weeks to reach Little Murray.
"The recent floods washed a lot of seeds into the Loddon from its tributaries, and this flow will give us the opportunity to help them establish," Ms Rogers said.
"It will also help maintain water quality, helping to limit the threat of toxic blackwater and freshen up pools
"The flow will also help plants survive the hot summer, and give them the opportunity to thrive in the cooler months. This, in turn, helps grow waterbugs, which are key food sources for fish and platypus.
"The Loddon is home to some impressive Murray cod and golden perch, as well as river blackfish, and this flow will also help juvenile fish travel along the river."
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