Environmental water releases into the Ovens system in north east Victoria created connected pools and riffles (shallow sections of a river with rapid currents) and variable, more natural flows to provide food and habitat for waterbugs and other aquatic plants and animals.
The flow also helped to maintain good water quality within the river.
Commonwealth environmental water in the Ovens system was released from Lake William Hovell and Lake Buffalo in 2014–15.
In 2015, the North East Catchment Management Authority led a thorough stakeholder and community engagement program to develop an environmental water management plan for the Ovens River. Local councils and Landcare groups provided feedback on the proposed values, threats and issues associated with environmental watering in the river.
The 'umbrella' ecological objective of the plan is to manage the Ovens River's iconic threatened fish species – Macquarie perch, trout cod and Murray cod – and ensure the river connects to the River Murray.
Delivering environmental water is part of the ongoing management of fish in the lower reaches of the Ovens River.
Macquarie perch have been introduced into the river in 2015, the second year of a five-year project with Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
Andrew Briggs, North East Catchment Management Authority's Ovens/King Catchment Co-ordinator, said, "There's a high potential for the successful re-establishment of this species in the Ovens, given the scattered remnant populations in the Buffalo River, environmental conditions and availability of suitable habitats in the broader Ovens/Buffalo/King catchments.
"Macquarie perch will be a major focus species over the next few years within this system."