THE annual early spring environmental flow along the lower Goulburn River will not go ahead this year because of recent high natural river flows.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) CEO, Chris Norman said, “For the past five years we’ve delivered higher flows along the Goulburn River below Goulburn Weir in spring, once it starts warming up, to help re-establish bank-stabilising vegetation that declined after years of drought followed by major floods in 2010 and 2011.
“We’ve had to deliver this extra – environmental – water in previous years to the lower Goulburn River as it had been relatively dry and Goulburn River winter flows upstream of Goulburn Weir were diverted and stored at Waranga Basin to meet irrigator and other water users’ demand. After a very dry year, fortunately nature has given the lower Goulburn River a helping hand, mainly through run-off and inflows from the Broken River and the Sevens, Castle and Pranjip creeks following heavy rain during July and August.”
These inflows saw the Goulburn River peak at 9.4m at Shepparton, below the minor flood level of 9.5m on August 4.
“In addition to boosting soil moisture and providing a good environment for in-stream and river bank plants, the higher flows are also good for fish, birds and other animals, as well as the water bugs that are an important source of food for native fish and platypus,” Mr Norman said.
Without significant rain, river levels are expected to stay around current levels (about 3m at Shepparton) for the rest of the month, due to water being released from Goulburn Weir now that Waranga Basin is close to capacity, as well as from run-off and inflows from tributaries.