Page 143 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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Investigations into the socio-economic benefits of water
for the environment in waterways in the Wimmera over the last three years have indicated that Horsham and Dimboola continue to be hot-spots for recreational enjoyment along the Wimmera River. Results have also shown an increase in expenditure for locations along the Wimmera River over the three-year period. Physical and mental health benefits were also quantified and results demonstrate that the Wimmera River at Jeparit, Horsham and Dimboola is a key contributor.
Feedback from local landholders and the community is that they enjoy and support the delivery of environmental water to the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands. In a landscape characterised by a very dry climate and defined by hot, hard, farming work, these wetlands provide refuge for wildlife as well as local people by providing opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking and walking, and venues for functions, meals, meetings and other community-based activities.
Summaries of the social, recreational and economic values considered are provided for each system. Where the timing or management of planned environmental flows may be modified to align with a community benefit, these are identified alongside the potential watering actions.
Integrated catchment management
Altered water regimes are one of many threats to the health of Victoria’s waterways. To be effective, environmental flows need to be part of an integrated approach to catchment management. Many of the environmental objectives for water for the environment in the western region will not be fully met without simultaneously addressing issues such
as barriers to fish movement, high nutrient loads, loss of stream bank vegetation and invasive species.
Victorian and Australian government agencies, Traditional Owners, community groups and private landowners collectively implement a wide range of programs that aim to protect and improve the environmental condition and function of land, soils and waterways throughout Victoria’s catchments.
Examples of complementary programs that are likely to support environmental watering outcomes in the western region include:
• major works recently completed by Glenelg Hopkins CMA to improve fish passage at Sandford Weir, Dergholm Gauge and Warrock will be used in combination with delivery of water for the environment to facilitate the movement of migratory fish from the estuary to the upstream reaches of the Glenelg and Wannon rivers
• installation of artificial wetland pontoons in the Dimboola weir pool and walking tracks to manage recreational access along the Wimmera River to reduce bank erosion
• weed and rabbit control by Wimmera CMA to prevent bank erosion in the upper Wimmera catchment to improve water quality, stream form and increase native biodiversity
• stock-exclusion fencing along priority waterways by Wimmera and Glenelg Hopkins CMAs throughout the Wimmera and Glenelg catchments, to support the re- establishment of streamside and in-stream vegetation, with over 2,000 km of fencing along the Glenelg River alone
• carp management activities in both the Wimmera and Glenelg systems to reduce the number of carp and to build understanding about their behaviour in both rivers to facilitate better environmental watering outcomes
• extensive installation of large woody fish habitat in Glenelg River reach 2 using red gum trunks and root balls to restore complex habitat
• control of invasive species and stock exclusion fencing in the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands.
For more information about integrated catchment management programs in the western region, refer to the Glenelg Hopkins, Wimmera, North Central and Mallee CMA’s regional catchment strategies and regional waterway strategies.
Risk management
During the development of the seasonal watering proposals for the Glenelg, Wimmera and Wimmera-Mallee wetland systems, environmental watering program partners assessed risks associated with potential environmental watering actions for 2020–21 and identified appropriate mitigating strategies. Risks and mitigating actions are continually assessed by program partners throughout the year (see subsection 1.3.6).
4.1 Western region overview
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