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Environmental values
The Wimmera system is home to many plant and animal species. It supports populations of native fish such as flat-headed gudgeon, obscure galaxias, river blackfish, southern pygmy perch and Australian smelt. Populations of the critically endangered Wimmera bottlebrush occur along the MacKenzie River and several other locations near the Grampians.
The Wimmera River supports abundant native fish, waterbird, turtle, frog and rakali (water rat) populations and one of Victoria’s few self-sustaining populations of freshwater catfish.
The MacKenzie River contains the only population of platypus in the Wimmera system and supports locally- important populations of native fish including river blackfish and southern pygmy perch. It also supports threatened Glenelg spiny crayfish and western swamp crayfish and turtles. During dry periods, the middle and upper reaches of the MacKenzie River maintain regular flow (due to managed releases from Lake Wartook for urban supplies and environmental watering) and provide refuge for these populations.
Vegetation along Burnt and Bungalally creeks provide habitat corridors for terrestrial wildlife, and upper Burnt Creek contains an important native fish community and a population of threatened western swamp crayfish. Mount William Creek supports regionally-important populations of river blackfish and southern pygmy perch and rakali (water rats).
Dock Lake is a natural wetland that was modified and used as part of the Wimmera-Mallee headworks system until 2010. When it is wetted, Dock Lake supports large populations of feeding and breeding waterbirds. It also supports frogs and small-bodied native fish.
Ranch Billabong is a small wetland near Dimboola that supports river red gums, a variety of aquatic plant species, waterbirds and frogs.
Environmental watering objectives in the Wimmera system
4.3 Wimmera system
    Protect and increase populations of native fish including one of Victoria’s few self-sustaining populations of freshwater catfish
     Maintain the frog population by providing feeding and breeding habitat
   Maintain channel capacity and diversity as well as prevent colonisation of waterways by terrestrial plant species
   Maintain and increase the resident platypus population by providing places to breed and feed, as well as opportunities for juveniles to disperse
    Maintain the turtle population by providing feeding and breeding habitat
    Improve the condition, abundance and diversity of aquatic, emergent and streamside vegetation
    Increase the waterbird population by providing roosting, feeding and breeding habitat in floodplain wetlands
   Increase the abundance and diversity of waterbugs, which break down dead organic matter and support the waterway’s food chain
Maintain the crayfish population by providing feeding and breeding habitat
    Maintain and improve water quality to provide suitable conditions for waterbugs, native fish and other water-dependent plants and animals
 Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 155

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