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 5.4 Goulburn system
5.4.2 Goulburn wetlands
System overview
Within the Goulburn Broken catchment, there are about 2,000 natural wetlands identified, but only five (Reedy Swamp, Gaynor Swamp, Doctors Swamp, Horseshoe Lagoon and Loch Garry) have received water for the environment through VEWH or CEWH entitlements. Several other small wetlands in the Goulburn catchment have been watered under a separate arrangement through the Murray-Darling Wetlands Working Group.
Gaynor Swamp, Reedy Swamp, Loch Garry, Doctors Swamp and Kanyapella Basin wetlands can receive water for the environment through irrigation supply infrastructure. The volume of water that can be delivered to each wetland depends on the physical capacity of the infrastructure and the seasonal allocation. Water for the environment can be delivered from the Goulburn River to Horseshoe Lagoon via a temporary pump.
Environmental values
Many natural wetlands across the Goulburn catchment including Reedy Swamp, Loch Garry, Gaynor Swamp, Kanyapella Basin and Doctors Swamp are formally recognised for their conservation significance. The Goulburn wetlands support a variety of plant communities ranging from river red gum swamps to cane grass wetlands.
Reedy Swamp contains a mosaic of vegetation types including tall marsh, floodway pond herbland and rushy riverine swamp. It is an important drought refuge, nesting site for colonial waterbirds and stopover feeding site for migratory birds (such as sharp-tailed sandpiper and marsh sandpiper).
Doctors Swamp is considered one of the most intact red gum swamps in Victoria, supporting over 80 wetland plant species.
Gaynor Swamp is a cane grass wetland situated on paleosaline soils: soils formed from historic oceans. The wetland supports thousands of waterbirds including brolga and intermediate egrets when wet. Gaynor Swamp has a
higher salt concentration than other wetlands in the region and it attracts a different suite of feeding waterbirds as it draws down. One of the most significant species that feeds on exposed mudflats at Gaynor Swamp is the red-necked avocet.
Loch Garry incorporates an old channel of the Goulburn River that provides deep, open-water habitat. The channel is surrounded by shallow, vegetated wetland depressions, red gum forest and sand ridges. It is an important site for waterbird feeding and roosting, and it is a drought refuge for eastern great egrets, musk ducks, nankeen night herons and royal spoonbills.
Kanyapella Basin is a shallow freshwater marsh that provides habitat for numerous plant and animal species including the threatened intermediate egret. Historically, it has been a popular breeding site for ibis, heron and cormorants.
Horseshoe Lagoon, a former channel of the Goulburn River, comprises vegetation mainly of tall marsh, floodway pond herbland and floodplain streamside woodland.
Environmental watering objectives in the Goulburn wetlands
    Maintain or increase the diversity and abundance of frog species
   Maintain turtle populations
   Increase the diversity and cover of native wetland plant species consistent with ecological vegetation class1 benchmarks
Reduce the cover and diversity of exotic plants
Maintain populations of rigid water milfoil, slender water milfoil and river swamp wallaby-grass
    Provide breeding habitat for waterbirds
Provide feeding and roosting habitat for waterbirds
1 Ecological vegetation classes are the standard units for classifying vegetation types in Victoria. They are described through a combination of floristics, lifeforms and ecological characteristics and through a presumed association to particular environmental attributes. Each ecological vegetation class includes a collection of floristic communities (which is a lower level in the classification) that occurs across a biogeographic range, and although differing in species, have similar habitat and ecological processes operating.
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