Skip to content

Over 25,000 waterbirds flocked to wetlands in the central Murray wetland complex following environmental watering in 2015–16.

Environmental watering in Johnson Swamp, Richardsons Lagoon and the Wirra-Lo wetland complex helped rehabilitate wetland plants and encouraged waterbird feeding and breeding.

"Recent fauna surveys identify successful breeding of the Australasian bittern, Australian little bittern and brolga at Johnson Swamp in response to the delivery of environmental water," said North Central Catchment Management Authority's Bree Bisset.

"Vegetation surveys also recorded a high diversity and abundance of land and wetland plants at Johnson Swamp and Wirra-Lo wetland after environmental water was delivered."

Environmental watering in Round Lake and Lake Elizabeth occurred to provide habitat for the critically endangered Murray hardyhead fish. Environmental watering helps protect the Murray hardyhead fish from extinction, explained Bree.

"Murray hardyhead can tolerate water salinity levels of between 25,000–40,000 EC (electrical conductivity) units, which is ideal for management as it enables the exclusion of competition from other species such as gambusia (mosquito fish)."

"Environmental watering allows us to maintain these few remaining refuges for Murray hardyhead and provides the conditions they need to survive and breed."

SiteVolume of water delivered in 2015-16 (ML)
Johnson Swamp2,890
Lake Elizabeth1,070
Richardsons Lagoon1,309
Round Lake576
Wirra-Lo wetland complex369

Shared community benefits

Environmental watering of the central Murray wetlands supports recreational activities including bushwalking, birdwatching and duck hunting, which generate tourism and provide economic benefits to local communities.