In early 2019, the Barwon River in the northern Murray-Darling Basin had not flowed for over 200 days. Waterholes dried back and were of poor quality which threatened the survival of native fish in the region.
To help native fish survive the drought, Commonwealth and NSW environmental water holders released water from dams in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin. The resulting flow event was named the Northern Fish Flow.
These flows supported the health of the Dumaresq, Macintyre, Mehi and Barwon river systems and ran from April to July 2019.
Careful planning and collaboration across government agencies in NSW and Qld made this event possible. Water was protected under an embargo from the NSW government and was monitored for compliance by the NSW Natural Resource Access Regulator and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
Report on Barwon Darling Water Quality during the Northern Fish Flow
Eco logical Australia monitored prior to and during the Northern Fish Flow event. Spot or manual water quality sampling was undertaken at key times, and loggers automatically recorded data between March and August 2019 at 5 locations along the river. Monitoring results indicated that the Northern Fish Flow was successful in replenishing the weir pools and improving their water quality. No negative effects were noted on water quality, and algal concentrations were reduced.
Further information on the flow can be found on the Northern Fish Flow Fact Sheet:
The CEWO conducted a number of community information sessions on the Northern Fish Flow to discuss how the flow helped our native fish and supported river communities. These information sessions were held in Texas, Goondiwindi, Toomelah, Boggabilla, Mungindi, Boomi, Moree, Collarenebri, Walgett and Brewarrina.
For more information please contact our local engagement officers:
- Jane Humphries, Moree - 0437 141 495
- Jason Wilson, Walgett - 0418 210 389
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The CEWO produced a media release for the Northern fish flow: Water for the environment to help fish in the Northern Basin.
The Northern fish flow updates
Northern fish flow wrap-up
The Northern Fish Flow has completed its journey from the Dumaresq and Mehi rivers into the Barwon River. The flow travelled around 1,500 km of river and improved the health and survival prospects of native fish in coming months by improving habitat and water quality. This wrap-up summarises learnings on the Northern Fish Flow and includes a thank you to the many who were involved.
Northern fish flow update 5
The Northern Fish Flow has exceeded the original target of the Macquarie-Barwon junction, and is currently replenishing the Brewarrina weir pool. The flow has travelled over 1,200 km of river and is expected to continue replenishing pools up to Beemery between Brewarrina and Bourke.
Update 5 provides updates to the progress of the flow, expected outcomes and details of a ministerial tour of the north.
Northern fish flow update 4
The Northern Fish Flow has travelled 1,000 km of river in the last six weeks. Water for the environment will reached Walgett wear in the coming week.
Update 4 provides updates to the progress of the flow, fish monitoring and water quality of the flow.
Northern fish flow update 3
Water for the environment has reached the Barwon River downstream of Mungindi and the Mehi-Barwon junction is replenishing waterholes. This flow will ensure native fish and animals continue to survive. The flow will continue to replenish waterholes and weirs past Walgett.
Update 3 provides updates to the progress of the flow, community consultation and monitoring of the flow.
Northern fish flow update 2
Water was released in April from Glenlyon Dam in the Border Rivers and May from Copeton Dam at the head of the Gwydir River system. These flows will soon enter the Barwon River and Merge to target fish refuges down to the junction of the Macquarie and Barwon rivers.
Update 2 provides updates to the status and background on this important flow.
Northern fish flow update 1
From 24 April 2019, releases will start from Glenlyon Dam in the Border Rivers for the Northern Fish Flow. From early May, releases will start from Copeton Dam at the head of the Gwydir River system.
Update 1 provides background on this important flow.