September 2011 Newsletter

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Murrumbidgil Swamp/Lake Merrimajeel Watering

Around 345ML water was delivered to Murrumbidgil Swamp/Lake Merrimajeel late in June 2011. A further 6,719ML of State and Commonwealth water was delivered in the continuation phase of this event in the 11/12 water year. The second phase of watering ceased on 13/9/11. However, flows continue heading towards Murrumbidgil Swamp, supporting an ecological response.
The purpose of this subsequent watering action is to:

  • increase system connectivity between Murrumbidgil Swamp, Lake Merrimajeel and the Booligal Swamp system
  • support wetland vegetation, in particular lignum, which provides habitat for colonial nesting birds
  • prolong the inundation of Lake Merrimajeel and Murrumbidgil Swamp. This is likely to improve the health of river red gum, nitre goosefoot and water plant communities, which provide habitat for water bird species such as freckled duck and blue-billed duck, great egret and the sharp-tailed sandpiper.

As environmental flows ceased in September, the block bank regulator has been used to maintain water depth at the rookery site, in case colonial nesting waterbirds, such as ibis, begin to congregate.
The watering action is being managed in cooperation with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Office of Water, State Water and Lachlan Riverine Working Group, as well as landholders and community members.Picture1Picture2







Muggabah Watering

Up to 3,600ML of Commonwealth environmental water and 1,300ML of Riverbank water has been made available to provide flows to Muggabah Creek in the lower Lachlan catchment.
This flow event will be delivered between August and November 2011 and will build on current environmental watering activities in the Merrimajeel system, that began in early June 2011.Delivery of water to Muggabah Creek commenced 14 August. The average daily flow rate of 100ML/d is expected for 40 days to deliver the planned volume of around 5,000ML.
The watering action seeks to:

  • increase system connectivity between Muggabah Creek, Lower Gum Swamp and the Booligal Swamp system
  • support water dependent habitat for migratory birds, colonial nesting birds and threatened species
  • support the fringing river red gum and lignum communities along Muggabah Creek, and Lower Gum Swamp.

The action was developed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Commonwealth, with advice from the Lachlan Riverine Working Group and landholders.

Merrowie Watering

The Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments have made available up to 14,600ML and 5,300ML respectively, of environmental water to provide flows in Merrowie Creek. The watering action commenced on 14 June 2011 and will continue until mid-October 2011
Ecological objectives of the watering action include:

  • increasing connectivity between wetlands including Cuba Dam and Lake Tarwong and increasing productivity of water-dependent ecosystems associated with Merrowie Creek
  • assisting the regeneration of a more natural understorey, in particular lignum shrublands, with the aim of improving ecological condition and providing habitat for waterbirds, frogs and plants.
  • stimulating population recruitment and increased diversity of wetland fauna. In particular, creating conditions suitable for Sloane’s froglet, which typically prefers ephemeral wetlands. This species is listed as Vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.
  • prolonging the inundation of Lake Tarwong to drown terrestrial weeds and improve the condition of the river red gums

LRWG visits Willandra and Booberoi Creeks

The Lachlan Riverine Working Group toured Willandra and Booberoi Creeks to meet local landholders and learn more about both creeks. The successful two day trip involved representatives from the Lachlan CMA, the Commonwealth, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Office of Water, Fisheries and water users.Picture1sidePicture2side







Table 1 Volumes of environmental water delivered from June 2011

Date water delivery commenced

Expected volume to be delivered

Watering targets

14 June 2011

14,600ML (C’wealth) 5,300ML (Riverbank)

Merrowie Creek – Lake Tarwong

21 June 2011

7,000ML (C’wealth) 2,500ML (Riverbank)

Merrimajeel Creek; Murrumbidgil Swamp; Lake Merrimajeel

14 August 2011

3,600 ML(C’wealth) 1,300ML (Riverbank)

Muggabah Creek


The “Land Management” of Wetland –A Review

Rick James of Riparian Management Services has completed a review of wetland land management and how this might be applied to Lachlan High Conservation Value (HCV) wetlands in the lower Lachlan. Recognised HCV wetlands in the lower Lachlan include the Booligal Wetlands, Lachlan Swamp and the Great Cumbung Swamp.

The study sought to identify what current land management practices are in these wetlands, how practices have changed and what they may be in the future. The scope of the study also included investigating how management for production is integrated with management for conservation and identifying ways that these different goals can be better balanced.

To provide background to this study, previous reports and studies were reviewed to identify existing knowledge to better inform management options for “working” wetlands. Landholders were also interviewed to build a picture of past and present wetland management.

As grazing management has an influence on “working” wetlands, it was investigated further as part of the review. Strategic grazing, where stock are given access to, and then removed from wetlands on the basis of specific pasture and environmental cues, was seen as an important strategy in wetland management.


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Written by Joanne Lenehan