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These wetlands are found on Yorta Yorta country, whose knowledge is evident throughout the landscape. Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp are red gum swamps near Numurkah. Moodie Swamp is a cane grass wetland adjacent to upper Broken Creek at Waggarandall that provides excellent breeding habitat for brolga.

The water regimes of these wetlands are influenced by their position in the landscape. The development and operation of the Shepparton and Murray Valley irrigation districts have changed the natural flow paths and the timing, frequency, volume and duration of natural flooding to these and other wetlands in the region. Existing irrigation system infrastructure enables water for the environment to be delivered to the three nominated wetlands, but under existing agreements, irrigation deliveries have priority within the channel system. This limits the volume of water that can be delivered to the wetlands, but the VEWH, waterway managers and storage managers adjust the timing and rate of environmental deliveries where possible to optimise environmental outcomes within current system constraints.

Proportion of water entitlements in the Broken system held by private users, water corporations and environmental water holders on 30 June 2020

Traditional Owners
Storage manager
Environmental water holder

System map

Environmental watering objectives in the Broken wetlands

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Maintain or improve the cover, diversity, recruitment/regeneration and growth of native wetland plant species consistent with ecological vegetation class benchmarks

Reduce the cover and diversity of exotic plant species

Maintain populations of rigid water-milfoil
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Provide breeding habitat for waterbirds

Provide feeding and roosting habitat for waterbirds

Environmental values

Moodie Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Black Swamp support a high diversity of vegetation communities ranging from river red gum to cane grass dominated. 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, royal spoonbill, yellow-billed spoonbill, Australasian shoveler and glossy ibis). Many of these species are listed in international agreements and conventions.

Traditional Owner cultural values and uses

Goulburn Broken CMA consulted with the Taungurung Land and Waters Council and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation during the planning of deliveries of water for the environment in the Broken system. Currently, water for the environment can only be delivered to Broken wetlands in Yorta Yorta Country.

The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Goulburn Broken CMA are working to ensure that planned watering actions at Black Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Moodie Swamp align with the conservation and protection of cultural sites and allow for connection to Country and establishing strong linkages. The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation has been involved in planning through online meetings and on-Country visits and by providing content for, reviewing and endorsing the Broken wetlands seasonal watering proposal.

Increasing the involvement of Traditional Owners in environmental water planning and management, and ultimately providing opportunities to progress towards self-determination within and beyond the environmental watering program, is a core commitment of the VEWH and its agency partners. This is reinforced by a range of legislation and policy commitments (for example the Water Act 1989, the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework, Water for Victoria (2016)) and, in some cases, agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010. Where Traditional Owners are more deeply involved in the planning and/or delivery of environmental flows for a particular site, their contribution is acknowledged in Table 5.5.5 with an icon. The use of this icon is not intended to indicate that these activities are meeting all the needs of Traditional Owners but is incorporated in the spirit of valuing that contribution, and indicating progress towards this objective.

Traditional owners

Watering planned and/or delivered in partnership with Traditional Owners to support cultural values and uses

Black Swamp, Kinnairds Wetland and Moodie Swamp have significant diversity within the landscape, multiple varieties of Nardoo (a food source), native grasses such as Old Man Weed, sneezeweed, (medicinal) and basket weaving sedges/rushes are in the area. The sites support a wide array of bird life and other animals that provide a variety of cultural values including for food and clothing. At Black Swamp, there is also evidence of cooking mounds around the perimeter.

Social, recreational and economic values and uses

In planning the potential watering actions in Table 5.5.5, Goulburn Broken CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:

  • water-based recreation (such as canoeing)
  • riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, camping, picnicking, photography and walking)
  • community events and tourism (such as Walk and Squawk)
  • socio-economic benefits (such as tourism).

If the timing or management of planned environmental flows may be modified to align with a community benefit, this is acknowledged in Table 5.5.5 with the following icon.


Watering planned to support waterbird-related recreational activities

Environmental flows will provide a winter/spring fill at Kinnairds Wetland, improving the growth of vegetation at the site and enhancing its amenity and aesthetics for locals and tourists. The fill will be timed to ensure conditions are optimal for ‘Walk and Squawk’, an event that aims to improve the community’s understanding of the ecology, flora and fauna at the site.

Recent conditions

The Broken catchment had very high rainfall in autumn 2020, but rainfall and temperatures throughout 2020-21 were close to the long-term average.

Black Swamp and Kinnairds Wetland were partially filled using water for the environment in autumn 2020, and they held water for three and five months respectively. Moodie Swamp filled naturally in autumn 2020 and held water until November 2020. These watering events triggered the germination and growth of wetland plants at all three wetlands, and brolga were observed feeding and courting at Moodie Swamp during its wet phase.

All three wetlands are ephemeral systems that rely on wet and dry phases to support various ecological processes. No water for the environment was delivered to any of the Broken wetlands in 2020-21, to allow them to draw down and dry. Planned watering actions in 2021-22 will stimulate wet-phase processes and prevent wetland vegetation communities from exceeding their optimal dry-phase duration.

Scope of environmental planning

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

Potential environmental watering action

Expected watering effects

Environmental objectives

Black Swamp (partial fill in winter/spring and top-up as required)

Traditional owners

  • Promote the growth of planted river red gum saplings and improve the condition of Red Gum Swamp Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) vegetation including river swamp wallaby grass
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Kinnairds Wetland (fill in winter/spring)

Traditional ownersBinoculars

  • Promote the growth and improve the condition of Red Gum Swamp EVC and Plains Grassy Wetland EVC vegetation including rigid water-milfoil
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Moodie Swamp (fill in autumn and top-up as required)

Traditional owners

  • Promote the growth and improve the condition of Cane Grass Wetland EVC vegetation
  • Promote the growth of rigid water-milfoil
  • Provide feeding, nesting and breeding habitat for brolga and other waterbird species
Plant iconHeron icon


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
  • Goulburn Murray Landcare
  • Goulburn Valley Environment Group
  • Turtles Australia Inc.
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Moira Shire Council
  • Parks Victoria
  • Individual landholders who are on the Goulburn Broken Wetland Management Group
  • Landowners that adjoin wetlands that receive water for the environment and/or use the delivery channel
  • Trelly’s Outdoor
  • Individual community members on the Broken Environmental Water Advisory Group
  • Field & Game Australia
  • Scientists and consultants on the Goulburn Broken Wetland Technical Reference Group
  • Taungurung Land and Waters Council
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Page last updated: 22/01/21