Page 48 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 2.2. Latrobe system
The Latrobe system includes the Latrobe River and lower Latrobe wetlands: Sale Common, Heart Morass and Dowd Morass.
2.2.1 Latrobe River
System overview
The Latrobe River originates on the Baw Baw Plateau and passes through relatively flat to undulating plains cleared for agriculture, before flowing into Lake Wellington (the westernmost point of the Gippsland Lakes). Notable tributaries include the Tanjil River, Narracan Creek, Morwell River, Tyers River, Traralgon Creek and the Thomson River.
Water for the environment is supplied to the Latrobe River from Blue Rock Reservoir on the Tanjil River. Blue Rock Reservoir also supplies water for electricity generators and a paper mill in the Latrobe Valley and urban supply.
The Latrobe River from Rosedale to the Thomson River confluence (reach 5) is the priority reach for water for environmental watering because it contains endangered plant communities that have good potential for rehabilitation.
Environmental values
The upper Latrobe River flows through state forest and
is relatively intact and ecologically healthy. It contains continuous stands of river red gums and intact streamside vegetation, and it supports native animals including barred galaxias, river blackfish, Gippsland spiny crayfish and nankeen night herons.
The Latrobe River below Lake Narracan is regulated and highly degraded due to historic river management practices. Most large woody habitat has been removed from the river and many sections have been artificially straightened. These practices have caused significant erosion and widened the channel, which has in turn reduced the quality and quantity of habitat for aquatic plants and animals.
Endangered and vulnerable vegetation are found in all but the most modified sections of the Latrobe River. The banks along the lower reaches support stands of swamp scrub, characterised by swamp paperbark and tea tree. Mature river red gums grow adjacent to the lower Latrobe wetlands and provide nesting habitat for sea eagles and other birds of prey that hunt in the wetlands. The Latrobe River supports several native estuarine and freshwater fish including black bream, Australian bass, Australian grayling and short- and long-finned eel.
The Latrobe River and its tributaries provide an essential source of freshwater to the Gippsland Lakes system,
of which the lower Latrobe wetlands are an important component.
Environmental watering objectives in the Latrobe River
     Maintain or increase native fish (migratory, resident and estuary) populations
     Maintain or increase in-stream geomorphic diversity
     Improve the condition and increase extent and diversity of submerged, emergent and streamside native vegetation
Reduce the extent and density of invasive plants
   Increase the abundance of all macro- and micro- invertebrates
    Avoid adverse water quality conditions (such as high salinity) in the lower Latrobe River and estuary
  46 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21
Traditional Owner cultural values and uses
The Gunaikurnai have had a continued connection to Gunaikurnai Country for thousands of years, including
with the waterways in the Latrobe River system. For the Gunaikurnai as traditional custodians there are immense challenges to heal, protect and manage Country which has been drastically altered since colonisation. Gunaikurnai see all of Country as connected with no separation between landscapes, waterways, coasts and oceans and natural and cultural resources – the cultural landscape is interdependent.
Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) is working with the West Gippsland CMA to determine how to express Gunaikurnai objectives for water in a way that contributes to seasonal watering proposals from the perspective of traditional custodians, with traditional knowledge.

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