Page 150 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
P. 150

 4.2 Glenelg system
Social, recreational and economic values and uses
In planning the potential watering actions in Table 4.2.1, Glenelg Hopkins CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:
• water-based recreation (such as canoeing and fishing)
• riverside recreation and amenity (such as camping)
• community events and tourism (such as the Johnny Mullagh Cup and visitation)
• socio-economic benefits (such as diverters for irrigation, domestic and stock uses).
If the timing or management of planned environmental flows may be modified to align with a community benefit, this is acknowledged in Table 4.2.1 with an icon.
Recent conditions
The Glenelg region had near-average rainfall and above- average temperatures during 2019–20, with large rain events during winter/spring and throughout autumn contributing flows via tributaries below Rocklands Reservoir. Inflows into the Wimmera-Mallee headworks tracked well below average, although milder conditions meant that evaporation losses were lower than normal over summer/ autumn. On 1 April 2020, allocations reached 42 percent for the year for the Wimmera-Glenelg environmental entitlement. These allocations supplemented the 28,515 ML of environmental water carried over from 2018–19.
Natural flow in the Glenelg River provided required low flow and freshes during winter/spring 2019. These natural flows meant a proportion of prescribed passing flows could be withheld in winter and released in spring to meet Glenelg River flow objectives. Water for the environment was released from Rocklands Reservoir between November 2019 and May 2020 to maintain low flow and deliver summer/autumn freshes to provide habitat for native
fish, platypus and waterbugs, allow fish and platypus to disperse and support instream and streamside vegetation. A trial watering event from Moora Moora Reservoir to the upper Glenelg River (reach 0) was delivered in November and December 2019, to better understand how managed flows could be used to support plant, waterbug and animal populations above Rocklands Reservoir.
All of the high-priority potential watering actions for the Glenelg River below Rocklands Reservoir were met in 2019–20 through natural flows, passing flows, managed environmental flows or a combination of these. Continuous flows were maintained through the whole system, and several freshes were delivered during summer and autumn to flush pools and improve the quality of habitat for native fish and platypus. Different release patterns were trialled from Rocklands Reservoir, 5-Mile Outlet and 12-Mile Outlet during summer/autumn 2019–20 to understand the most efficient way of meeting environmental flow targets.
Low storage levels across the Wimmera-Mallee headworks mean that if dry conditions persist, environmental watering actions in the Glenelg River during 2020–21 will primarily focus on protecting water quality and refuge habitat in reaches 1 and 2, to prevent significant declines in native fish and platypus populations.
Scope of environmental watering
Table 4.2.1 describes the potential environmental watering actions in 2020–21, their functional watering objectives (that is, the intended physical or biological effect of the watering action) and the longer-term environmental objectives they support. Each environmental objective relies on one or more potential environmental watering actions and their associated physical or biological functions.
   Watering planned to support angling activities
   Watering planned to support water sports activities (e.g. canoeing)
  Watering planned to support peaks in visitation (e.g. camping or other public activities on long weekends or school holidays)
Environmental flow releases support the spawning and recruitment of popular angling species like estuary perch and bream. Local anglers continue to report increased fish activity associated with the delivery of freshes, improving fishing opportunities in the river. Releases support numerous fishing competitions including those of the Balmoral, Casterton and Dartmoor angling clubs.
The planning of the summer fresh improves accessibility, water quality and amenity for canoeists planning trips on the Glenelg River over the summer holiday period.
Summer and spring freshes provide a freshening flow which improves conditions at popular riverside campgrounds in the upper reaches of the Glenelg River including Fulham Reserve near Balmoral and the Johnny Mullagh Reserve at Harrow.
    148 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21

   148   149   150   151   152