Page 193 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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How have economic, recreational and social values and uses of waterways been considered?
Environmental outcomes provide direct economic, recreational, social benefits to communities. Waterway managers, in consultation with communities, have identified numerous opportunities to support community benefits including activities tourism, fishing, birdwatching, boating and hunting activities. Examples of these opportunities in the northern region include:
• supporting populations of native fish species for recreational fishing including 120,000 juvenile golden perch and silver perch that were released into Walpolla Horseshoe Lagoon by the Victorian Fisheries Authority in March 2020. Watering planned for the lagoon will support the rapid growth and survival of juvenile fish
• providing habitat for native fish including Murray cod, golden perch and freshwater catfish in the waterways around Lindsay Island. The island is popular with recreational anglers, with local anglers nominating Mullaroo Creek as the number-one location for fishing in their area
• enhancing opportunities for recreational anglers along the Loddon, Campaspe and Goulburn rivers by using environmental flows to trigger the migration of recreational fishing species into these waterways
• providing nesting material for vulnerable brolga in Gaynor Swamp by increasing the growth of aquatic plants. The presence of brolga attracts birdwatchers from around the region, the state and Australia
• notifying canoers and kayakers of upcoming environmental flows on the Campaspe River, enabling them to schedule trips to popular sites (such as Rocky Crossing).
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, this is 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 northern 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 northern region include:
• the release of a strategic action plan for the protection of floodplain marshes in Barmah Forest, which identifies management actions addressing key threats to the delicate floodplain vegetation including removal of
feral horses and other invasive animals and control of invasive plants. Parks Victoria and the Yorta Yorta Nations jointly manage Barmah National Park
• construction of fishways enabling fish passage through the Koondrook and Cohuna weirs in Gunbower Creek is planned for winter 2021. The fishways will provide migration opportunities for fish species (such as the iconic Murray cod)
• private land managers undertake vegetation management and carp removal actions at Mullinmur wetland on the Ovens River at Wangaratta. The rehabilitation works have enabled stocking of native catfish brood stock into the wetland, which will support future re-stocking efforts in the region
• manual removal of river red gum seedlings that are encroaching into open wetlands in Guttrum Forest to maintain areas of open-water habitat, which supports aquatic and mudflat plants and in turn provides habitat for a range of waterbird species.
For more information about integrated catchment management programs in the northern region, refer to the Goulburn Broken, Mallee, North Central and North East CMAs’ regional catchment strategies and regional waterway strategies.
Risk management
During the development of the seasonal watering proposals for the northern region systems, environmental watering program partners held a workshop to assess 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).
5.1 Northern region overview
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