Golden Perch, Silver Perch and many small native fish species are spawning in the Barmah wetlands following the recent release of an environmental water allocation. Up to 500 gigalitres of environmental water is keeping flows in the Murray River downstream of Yarrawonga from falling below 15,000 ML a day.
The allocation is part of the Barmah-Millewa Environmental Water Allocation, prompted by heavy rains in the Ovens and Kiewa catchments.
The excess floodwaters are spilling out over the Barmah floodplain, covering more than 50 per cent of the wetland system. “What’s happening now in the Barmah wetlands shows that once water is made available to the environment it makes a difference,” says Dr Paul Sinclair, director of Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign. “Healthy fish means healthy rivers, which benefit all of us.”
Dr Sinclair also comments that that once the environmental water leaves the Barmah forest it is taken by irrigators. He says “It should be used by other red gum forests downstream.”