Page 281 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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5.6.2 Coliban River
System overview
The Coliban River is the major tributary of the Campaspe River, and it flows into Lake Eppalock. It is highly regulated with three storages harvesting water primarily for urban use.
Flow in the Coliban River below Malmsbury Reservoir is regulated by the operation of the Malmsbury, Lauriston and Upper Coliban storages. An important distinction between the Coliban River and other regulated Victorian systems
is the lack of irrigation demand. Therefore, flow in the river is influenced by the passing flow entitlement, which depends on catchment inflows and major flood events in the catchment.
Reach 1 of the Coliban River below Malmsbury Reservoir
to Lake Eppalock can benefit from environmental watering. The VEWH does not have any environmental entitlements in the Coliban system, but passing flows can be managed — for example, they can be accumulated and released when most needed — to help mitigate some risks associated with critically low summer/autumn flow including low oxygen levels. A small volume of Commonwealth environmental water is held in the system, but the high cost of delivery means there is no plan to use it in 2020–21.
Environmental values
The Coliban River provides important habitat for platypus, rakali (water rats) and small-bodied native fish (such as flat-headed gudgeon and mountain galaxias). The Coliban River also contains a diverse range of waterbugs supported by stands of emergent and submergent aquatic vegetation. It is bordered by remnant patches of stream bank shrubland vegetation and woodland containing river red gum, callistemon, woolly tea-tree and inland wirilda, which provide habitat for terrestrial animals.
Environmental watering objectives in the Coliban River
5.6 Campaspe system
     Increase the abundance and diversity of small- bodied native fish
    Increase platypus communities by providing opportunities for successful breeding and dispersal
   Increase the cover and diversity of aquatic plants
Increase the cover and diversity of fringing vegetation, while limiting encroachment into the middle of the channel
Maintain adult streamside woody vegetation and facilitate recruitment
    Maintain an adequate diversity and biomass of waterbugs, to break down dead organic matter and support the river’s food chain
    Improve water quality and maintain healthy levels of oxygen in pools
Traditional Owner cultural values and uses
In planning for environmental flows in the Coliban River,
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and North Central CMA have considered how environmental water management assists with preservation of historical and contemporary cultural values including promoting a sense of place and spiritual connection.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Country Plan describes their aspirations around the management of rivers and waterways and articulates Dja Dja Wurrung peoples’ support for the reinstatement of environmental flows as an overall objective for the management of water on Country. The North Central CMA and Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation continue to work towards increased engagement on planning and delivery of environmental watering activities, including identifying opportunities for Dja Dja Wurrung involvement.
Social, recreational and economic values and uses
In planning the potential watering actions in Table 5.6.3, North Central CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:
• water-based recreation (such as canoeing and fishing)
• riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, camping, cycling and walking)
• community events and tourism (such as visitation)
• socio-economic benefits (such as diverters for irrigation, domestic and stock uses, community wellbeing and benefits to the local economy from visitors).
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