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Several other small wetlands in the Goulburn catchment have been watered under a separate arrangement through the Murray-Darling Wetlands Working Group. Recent modifications to the irrigation supply network and other water delivery options will enable water for the environment to be delivered to Loch Garry, Kanyapella Basin and Horseshoe Lagoon from 2019–20 onwards. These wetlands have strong cultural significance to the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung Traditional Owners.

Gaynor Swamp, Reedy Swamp, Loch Garry, Doctors Swamp and Kanyapella Basin wetlands can all receive water for the environment via irrigation supply infrastructure in the Shepparton and Central Goulburn irrigation districts. The volume of water that can be delivered to each wetland depends on the available capacity in the irrigation supply network, which varies with irrigation demand. Water for the environment will be delivered from the Goulburn River to Horseshoe Lagoon via a temporary pump.

Environmental watering objectives in the Goulburn wetlands

Maintain or increase the diversity and abundance of frog species
Maintain the population of turtles
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Increase the diversity of native wetland plants consistent with the EVC1 benchmarks

Reduce the cover and diversity of exotic plants

Maintain the population of rigid water milfoil
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Provide breeding habitat for waterbirds Provide feeding and roosting habitat for waterbirds

Aboriginal environmental outcomes

Traditional owners
Watering is planned to be delivered in partnership with Traditional Owners and achieve Aboriginal environmental outcomes

Environmental values

Many natural wetlands across the Goulburn catchment including Reedy Swamp, Loch Garry, Gaynor Swamp, Kanyapella Basin and Doctors Swamp are formally recognised for their conservation significance. The Goulburn wetlands support a variety of plant communities ranging from river red gum swamps to treeless cane grass wetlands.

Reedy Swamp contains a mosaic of vegetation types including tall marsh, floodway pond herbland and rushy riverine swamp. It is an important drought refuge and nesting site for colonial waterbirds and an important stopover feeding site for migratory birds (such as sharp- tailed sandpiper and marsh sandpiper).

Doctors Swamp is considered one of the most-intact red gum swamps in Victoria, supporting over 80 wetland plant species.

Gaynor Swamp is a cane grass wetland situated on paleosaline soils – soils formed from historic oceans. The wetland supports thousands of waterbirds including brolga and intermediate egrets when wet. Gaynor Swamp has a higher salt concentration than other wetlands in the region, and it attracts a different suite of feeding waterbirds as it draws down. One of the most significant species that feed on exposed mudflats at Gaynor Swamp is the red-necked avocet.

Loch Garry supports large areas of deep, open water fringed by giant rush and dominated by tall marsh. It is an important site for waterbird feeding and roosting and is a drought refuge for eastern great egrets, musk ducks, nankeen night herons and royal spoonbills.

Kanyapella Basin is a shallow freshwater marsh that provides habitat for numerous plant and animal species including
the threatened intermediate egret. It has historically been a popular site for ibis, heron and cormorants.

Horseshoe Lagoon, a former channel of the Goulburn River, comprises vegetation mainly of tall marsh, floodway pond herbland and floodplain riparian woodland.

Recent conditions

The Goulburn system experienced dry conditions and some of its highest temperatures on record during 2018–19.

Water for the environment was delivered to Reedy Swamp in spring 2018, to provide refuge for thousands of bird species including the threatened white-bellied sea eagle and glossy ibis. The wetland was allowed to draw down and dry over summer.

Gaynor Swamp received water for the environment for the first time in April 2018 and quickly became a feeding site for thousands of waterbirds including brolga. Observations of breeding behaviour in whiskered terns and brolga led to a subsequent top-up delivery in spring 2018, to support waterbird breeding.

Doctors Swamp was not actively watered during 2018–19, to allow it to dry and reduce exotic aquatic vegetation at the site.

Horseshoe Lagoon partially filled in December 2017 from natural flows in the Goulburn River, but the wetland, along with Kanyapella Basin, has not been fully inundated since 2011–12, and both are currently dry. Loch Garry was partially filled during natural floods in 2016 and dried in January 2019.

Scope of environmental planning

Table 1 Potential environmental watering actions and objectives for the Campaspe River

Potential environmental watering action

Functional watering objective

Environmental objectives

Doctors Swamp (fill in autumn)

  • Promote vegetation growth
  • Provide habitat for waterbird roosting and feeding
Plant iconHeron icon

Horseshoe Lagoon (fill in winter)

  • Maintain wetland vegetation by supporting growth and recruitment
  • Promote the growth of river swamp wallaby-grass
  • Provide habitat for turtle and frog populations
Frog iconTurtle iconPlant iconTraditional owners

Kanyapella Basin (partial fill in spring or autumn)

  • Promote different vegetation communities to establish
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Loch Garry (partial fill in autumn)

  • Increase wetland vegetation growth and recruitment
  • Provide feeding/breeding habitat for a range of waterbirds
Plant iconHeron icon

Reedy Swamp (fill in autumn)

  • Limit the growth of aquatic weeds by keeping the wetland dry in summer
  • Promote the growth of native wetland vegetation
  • Provide refuge and food/habitat for waterbirds
Plant iconHeron icon

Wetland drying

Gaynor Swamp

  • Reduce the extent of typha
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Engagement

Table 2 shows the partners and stakeholder organisations that Goulburn Broken CMA engaged when preparing the Goulburn River and Goulburn wetlands seasonal watering proposal.

Seasonal watering proposals are informed by longer-term regional catchment strategies, regional waterway strategies, environmental flow studies, water management plans and other studies. These incorporate a range of environmental, cultural, social and economic perspectives and longerterm 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 Goulburn system seasonal watering proposal

Partner and stakeholder engagement
  • Goulburn Murray Landcare Network
  • Goulburn Valley Environment Group
  • Kinnairds Wetland Advisory Committee
  • Turtles Australia
  • Individual landholders
  • Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning
  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • Moira Shire
  • Parks Victoria
  • Field and Game Australia
  • Trellys Fishing and Hunting
  • Taungurung Land and Waters Council
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation