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Of some 2,000 natural wetlands in the Goulburn Broken area, only three in the Broken catchment have infrastructure that connect them to receive environmental water: Black Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Moodie Swamp. Kinnairds Wetland (96 ha) and Black Swamp (16.5 ha) are red gum swamps near Numurkah. Moodie Swamp is a 180 ha cane grass wetland adjacent to Broken Creek at Waggarandall that provides excellent breeding habitat for brolga.

Wetlands in this region continue to be important places for Traditional Owners and their Nations. The Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP) in the region are the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation. Representatives from the RAPs were engaged during the preparation of the Broken wetlands seasonal watering proposal.

System map

Environmental watering objectives in the Broken wetlands

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Maintain feeding and breeding habitat for waterbirds, particularly for brolga, royal spoonbill and Australasian shoveler
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Maintain or improve the diversity of wetland vegetation Maintain populations of nationally threatened plant species (such as ridged water milfoil, slender water milfoil and river swamp wallabygrass)

Environmental values

Moodie Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp support a high diversity of vegetation communities ranging from river red gum-dominated swamps to cane grass wetlands. The wetlands contain state and nationally threatened vegetation communities and species including ridged water milfoil and river swamp wallaby-grass. The wetlands also provide food resources and breeding habitat for bird species of high conservation significance (such as eastern great egret, Latham's snipe, white-bellied sea eagle, Australasian bittern, brolga, spoonbill, Australasian shoveler and glossy ibis). Many of these species are listed in international agreements and conventions.

Social economic values

The wetlands support a range of recreational activities including birdwatching, bike riding, bushwalking and camping. Moodie Swamp and Black Swamp are state game reserves managed by Parks Victoria. Kinnairds Wetland is managed by Moira Shire and Goulburn-Murray Water.

Conditions 2018

The Broken River catchment received near-average rainfall early in the 2017–18 water year, followed by a drier-thanaverage summer and autumn. The main exception was a storm in early December 2017 that dropped more than three times the average December rainfall in a few days. Run-off from the storm and associated flooding delivered some inflows to Black Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Moodie Swamp.

Black Swamp and Kinnairds Wetland filled naturally in spring 2016, and they were not actively watered in 2017–18, to support the natural wetting and drying cycles. Periodic drying of wetlands is important to allow newly germinated wetland plants to grow and set seed following extended wet phases. The December 2017 storm delivered only small inflows to both wetlands, which lasted less than three months and which did not significantly disrupt the drying phase.

Moodie Swamp also filled in spring 2016 and received some inflows in December 2017. Water for the environment was delivered to Moodie Swamp in autumn 2018 to promote cane grass habitat, priming the wetland for brolga breeding.

Scope of environmental watering.

Table 1 Potential environmental watering actions and objectives for the Broken wetlands

Potential environmental watering

Environmental objectives

Black Swamp (fill in spring)

  • Maintain the diversity of wetland vegetation
  • Provide waterbird feeding and breeding habitat

Kinnairds Wetland (fill in spring)

  • Maintain the diversity of wetland vegetation
  • Maintain populations of the nationally threatened ridged water milfoil and slender water milfoil
  • Provide waterbird feeding and breeding habitat
Moodie Swamp (fill in autumn)
  • Maintain the diversity of wetland vegetation 
  • Maintain populations of the nationally threatened ridged water milfoil and slender water milfoil 
  • Provide waterbird feeding and breeding habitat, particularly for brolga

Risk management

In preparing its seasonal watering proposal, Goulburn Broken CMA considered and assessed the risks of environmental watering and identified mitigation strategies. Program partners continually reassess risks and mitigation actions throughout the water year.

Engagement

Table 2 shows the partners and stakeholder organisations with which the Goulburn Broken CMA engaged when preparing the Broken system seasonal watering proposal.

Seasonal watering proposals are informed by longer-term plans such as regional catchment strategies, regional waterway strategies and environmental water management plans and other studies. These plans incorporate a range of environmental, cultural, social and economic perspectives and longer term integrated catchment and waterway management objectives. For further details, refer to the Goulburn Broken Regional Catchment Strategy and Goulburn Broken Waterway Strategy.

Table 2 Partners and stakeholders engaged in developing the Broken system seasonal watering proposal

 

Partner and stakeholder engagement
  • Broken Environmental Water Advisory Group (comprising community members) 
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office 
  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Wetland Advisory Group (with representation of Goulburn Valley Landcare, Field & Game Australia, Moira Shire, Greater Shepparton City Council, Turtles Australia, Parks Victoria, Trellys Fishing and Hunting and Kinnairds Wetland Advisory Committee) 
  • Goulburn-Murray Water * Murray–Darling Basin Authority (River Murray Water) 
  • Parks Victoria 
  • Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation 
  • Victorian Environmental Water Holder 
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation