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 5.7 Loddon system
A key priority for Barapa Barapa and Wamba Wemba Traditional Owners in the Boort and central Murray region wetlands is maintaining or improving the condition of wetland vegetation health. North Central CMA and Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners are collaborating to deliver the DELWP-funded Decision Support Tool (DST) project which focuses on McDonalds Swamp (central Murray wetlands, see section 5.2.3), Lake Leaghur and Lake Yando. The project involves the delivery of revegetation works and vegetation monitoring. Environmental watering decisions
at these wetlands have been able to support the DST project by aligning watering actions with the watering requirements of the revegetation and enabling monitoring to be completed by Barapa Barapa.
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 5.7.3, North Central CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:
• water-based recreation (such as canoeing, fishing and kayaking)
• riverside recreation and amenity (such as birdwatching, camping, duck hunting and walking)
• community events and tourism (such as supporting Aboriginal cultural heritage and history-based tours)
• socio-economic benefits (such as ecosystem services like groundwater recharge, flood mitigation, nutrient treatment and carbon storage).
Recent conditions
Rainfall across the Boort wetlands during 2019–20 was close to the long-term average, but there were no floods
in the Loddon River catchment and therefore no significant inflows to the wetlands. The Boort wetlands last flooded in 2016, and since then water for the environment has been delivered to Lake Meran and Little Lake Meran, which, at the end of 2019–20, both continued to hold water. Lake Yando and Lake Leaghur are completely dry and are due for filling under their recommended watering regimes. Lake Boort is also dry and is preferred to remain dry in 2020–21 to maintain its optimal regime.
Water for the environment was used to top up water levels in Lake Meran between spring 2019 and autumn 2020
as recommended in the Lake Meran Environmental Water Management Plan, to maintain habitat for aquatic animals and promote the growth of fringing vegetation. A planned partial fill at Lake Yando did not proceed in 2019–20, due to delivery constraints and channel blockage when the water was needed. Consequently, a fill of Lake Yando will be a high priority in 2020–21, which will require the channel to be cleared before filling.
Scope of environmental watering
Table 5.7.3 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.
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