Page 50 - VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2020-21
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 2.2. Latrobe system
For the Latrobe River system this has included:
• Aboriginal Waterway Assessments to examine cultural values and uses
• identification of primary objectives under the modified water regime
• expression of preliminary outcomes: watering actions that recognise and promote:
• Healthy Country
• the importance of the Latrobe River system to the Gunaikurnai songline of Boran (pelican) and Tuk (musk duck) and their respective water quality and habitat requirements
• waterways as meeting places
• preliminary accommodation of water quality and management requirements of species with cultural values and uses.
GLaWAC shared with the West Gippsland CMA plant and animal species of cultural significance in and around the waterways of the Latrobe Valley, and the importance of specific watering decisions to support them.
Watering requirements to support cultural values and uses include:
• timing of environmental watering planned in partnership with GLaWAC to support a seasonal flow regime and wet and dry periods that embody Healthy Country
• maintaining freshwater supply to Latrobe estuary, Dowd Morass, Sale Common and Heart Morass and associated freshwater habitats. The lower Latrobe wetlands are an important resource for the Gunaikurnai
• providing connectivity between reaches and onto floodplains to support dependent plants and animals with cultural values and uses of significance to the Gunaikurnai
• maintaining water quality to support health of native plants and animals with cultural values and uses of significance to the Gunaikurnai.
Social, recreational and economic values and uses
In planning the potential watering actions in Table 2.2.1, West Gippsland CMA considered how environmental flows could support values and uses including:
• water-based recreation (such as water-skiing and fishing)
• riverside recreation and amenity (such as hunting)
• socio-economic benefits (such as commercial fishing, diverters for irrigation and farming, urban water supplies and power generation).
If the timing or management of planned environmental flows may be modified to align with a community benefit, this is acknowledged in Table 2.2.1 with an icon.
West Gippsland CMA communicates with Lake Narracan Ski Club so environmental water releases can be timed to not affect the water levels in the lake during water skiing events, which typically take place between January and March.
Recent conditions
The Latrobe system experienced average to above-average rainfall throughout 2019–20, despite drier-than-average conditions occurring elsewhere in west Gippsland.
By summer, environmental water allocations reached
100 percent of the entitlement volume.
Local rainfall and inflows from unregulated tributaries provided flow conditions that met all the watering actions that were planned for the Latrobe River from July 2019 until February 2020. High rainfall caused bankfull flows in winter and minor flooding in some reaches of the Latrobe River
in late spring 2019, which provided ecologically important flow events that cannot be delivered through managed environmental flows. Water for the environment was used to partly deliver two freshes in mid-autumn 2020. Heavy rainfall occurred during these events, which reduced
the amount of environmental water that needed to be released. The autumn freshes were timed to coincide with environmental flows in the Thomson and Macalister rivers to optimise outcomes for native fish (especially Australian grayling migration and spawning) and outcomes for the Latrobe estuary.
Scope of environmental watering
Table 2.2.1 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 objectives they support. Each environmental objective relies on one or more potential environmental watering actions and their associated physical or biological functions.
  Watering planned to support water sports activities (e.g. canoeing, kayaking, rowing, swimming, water skiing)
   48 | Victorian Environmental Water Holder | Seasonal Watering Plan 2020–21

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