Page 295 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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5.7.2 Boort wetlands
System overview
The Boort wetlands are on the floodplain west of the Loddon River, below Loddon Weir. They consist of temporary and permanent freshwater lakes and swamps: Lake Boort, Lake Leaghur, Lake Yando, Little Lake Meran and Lake Meran. Together, the Boort wetlands cover over 800 ha. There are numerous other wetlands in the district, but they are currently not managed with water for the environment.
The natural watering regimes of wetlands throughout the broader Loddon system have been substantially modified by the construction of levees and channels across the floodplain and by the construction and operation of reservoirs and weirs along the Loddon River. Water is delivered to the Boort wetlands through Loddon Valley Irrigation Area infrastructure.
The availability of water for the environment for the Boort wetlands is closely linked to water available for the Loddon River system. The ability to deliver water for the environment to the wetlands is sometimes limited by channel capacity constraints. The VEWH and North Central CMA work with the storage manager (Goulburn-Murray Water) to best meet environmental objectives within capacity constraints.
Environmental values
The Boort wetlands provide habitat for a range of plant and animal species. At Lake Yando, 12 rare plant species have been recorded including the jerry-jerry and water nymph. Bird species recorded at Lake Boort, Lake Leaghur and Lake Meran include the white-bellied sea eagle, Latham’s snipe and eastern great egret. Little Lake Meran is a swampy woodland with black box trees on the highest wet margins and river red gums fringing the waterline.
Environmental watering objectives in the Boort wetlands
5.7 Loddon system
     Increase the population of large and small- bodied fish species
   Increase the diversity and population of native frogs including by enhancing breeding opportunities
    Maintain the population of freshwater turtles, in particular Murray River turtles
   Rehabilitate and increase the extent of emergent and aquatic vegetation (aquatic herblands, tall marsh), intermittent swampy woodland and riverine chenopod woodland
Maintain the health and restore the distribution of river red gums and associated understorey species
Maintain the extent and restore the health of black box vegetation
    Support a high diversity of wetland birds by enhancing feeding and breeding conditions
Traditional Owner cultural values and uses
In planning for environmental flows in the Boort wetlands, North Central CMA has worked with Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners and Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation to identify opportunities to engage on environmental water planning and delivery now and in future.
The wetlands and surrounding land in the Boort region are rich in cultural heritage, with sites and artefacts of cultural practices present throughout the landscape. The rivers and floodplains are valued as food and fibre sources and contain many sites of significance such as camp sites and meeting places. Environmental watering supports values such as native fish, waterbirds and turtles, and promotes the growth of culturally-important plants that provide food, medicine and weaving materials. The presence of water itself can
be a cultural value, as well as the quality of the water, as healthy water promotes a healthy Country.
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