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Traditional Owner cultural values and uses
Spanning a broad geographic area, several Wimmera- Mallee wetlands show indications of the long-standing cultural heritage and importance of these sites to the various Traditional Owners of the region, including but
not limited to those represented by the Barengi Gadjin Land Council and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation. Some of the sites have artefacts and scar trees recorded in or adjacent to them and could benefit from further cultural surveys to better inform environmental water management at those sites.
Social, recreational and economic values and uses
In planning the potential watering actions in Table 4.4.1, the Mallee, North Central and Wimmera CMAs have considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:
• water-based recreation (such as fishing, kayaking, swimming and yabbying)
• riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, duck and quail hunting, picnicking and walking)
• community events and tourism (such as citizen science including the monitoring of birds and bats).
Recent conditions
The Wimmera-Mallee region received below-average rainfall and had above-average temperatures throughout 2017–18, 2018–19 and 2019–20. The dry conditions experienced over the last three years have delivered low inflows to storages in the Wimmera-Mallee headworks system, and as a result the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline wetland environmental entitlement received no allocation in 2019–20. All environmental water deliveries to the wetlands in 2019–20 were supported by water that was carried over from previous years.
Rainfall during winter 2019 provided local run-off that topped up some wetlands, but most wetlands relied on deliveries of environmental water via the Wimmera-Mallee pipeline to provide their required water regime.
Water for the environment was delivered to 30 of the 41 wetlands planned under a dry scenario in 2019–20: 13 wetlands in the Mallee CMA area, 11 in the Wimmera CMA area and six in the North Central CMA area. Deliveries
were made in winter/spring 2019 and autumn/winter 2020. Some wetlands received water once during 2019–20, while others received multiple deliveries to maintain their water- dependent values.
Remote, motion-sensor cameras and visual surveys at some wetlands have found that water for the environment delivered to Wimmera-Mallee wetlands provided feeding and breeding habitat for many animals (such as eastern long-necked turtles, frogs, yabbies, brolga, egrets, herons, ducks, grebes, stilts and other water and woodland birds). Many wetlands had vigorous growth of aquatic and semi- aquatic plants including nardoo, water milfoil, water ribbons, lignum and cane grass. The condition of black box trees, chariot wheels (a nationally threatened forb species) and lignum plants near watered wetlands also improved.
Scope of environmental watering
Table 4.4.1 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 objective(s) they support. Each environmental objective relies on one or more potential environmental watering actions and their associated physical or biological functions.
            Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21 | 169
4.4 Wimmera-Mallee wetlands

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