Page 169 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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System overview
The Wimmera-Mallee wetlands include 52 wetlands on public and private land spread across north-west Victoria. Historically, the deeper areas of these wetlands received water most years from the open channels associated with the Wimmera-Mallee Domestic and Stock Channel System.
The Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline Project (WMPP) replaced stock and domestic supply dams with tanks, and the open- channel distribution system with pipelines, to improve water efficiency. A portion of the water savings from the WMPP was converted to an environmental entitlement to improve the condition of the area’s flow-stressed rivers, creeks and wetlands; the rest was used to create regional development opportunities and boost the reliability of supply for other users. The WMPP reduced the amount of open-water habitat in areas that were formerly supplied by the open- channel system, so a separate 1,000 ML environmental entitlement was created to water wetlands that were previously supplied through the channel system. There
are 52 priority wetlands that can receive water from this environmental entitlement.
Water for the environment can only be delivered to the wetlands when there is sufficient capacity in the Wimmera- Mallee pipeline system, which can be affected by demand from other pipeline customers. The North Central, Mallee and Wimmera CMAs work closely with GWMWater and land managers (including Parks Victoria, the Department
of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and private landowners) to take account of pipeline capacity constraints when ordering environmental deliveries to wetlands.
Environmental values
There are a wide range of wetland types in the Wimmera- Mallee wetlands system including freshwater meadows, open freshwater lakes and freshwater marshes. This diversity provides a range of different wetland habitats for plants and animals across the Wimmera-Mallee region.
The wetlands also vary in size and consist of many different vegetation communities, and some are home to native waterbird populations including brolgas, egrets, blue-billed ducks, freckled ducks, Australian painted snipes and glossy ibis. The wetlands are used by the vulnerable growling grass frog, turtles and many other native animals that may use them as drought refuges and drinking holes. Rare and vulnerable vegetation species (such as spiny lignum, ridged water milfoil, chariot wheel and cane grass) are also present in some wetlands.
Environmental watering objectives in the Wimmera-Mallee wetlands
4.4 Wimmera-Mallee wetlands
    Maintain and increase the population of frogs
  Maintain and increase the population of turtles
      Provide watering holes for native animals and terrestrial birds across the landscape
   Maintain and improve the condition of aquatic and fringing plants including lignum, river red gum and black box communities
Improve the diversity of vegetation communities by providing watering regimes to support plant life cycles in and around the wetlands
    Maintain and increase populations of waterbirds and other native birds by providing resting, feeding and breeding habitat
    Maintain the population of waterbugs
   Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 167

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