Science improves our understanding of how plants and animals respond to water for the environment and informs how environmental flows can best support them in the future.
As part of the CEWO’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (Flow-MER) Program, quarterly newsletters provide an update of recent monitoring, evaluation and research activities and preliminary observations and findings in the following Selected Areas:
- Junction of the Warrego and Darling rivers
- Gwydir river system
- Lachlan river system
- Murrumbidgee river system
- Edward/Kolety - Wakool river system
- Goulburn River
- Lower Murray River
The information is used by water managers to facilitate real-time adaptive management of Commonwealth environmental water. For more information about the Flow-MER Program, please visit the Flow-MER website.
Selected Area Highlights from Issue 11 Outcomes Newsletters (January-March 2022)
Junction of Warrego and Darling rivers
Dissolved oxygen levels in the Barwon and Darling Rivers dropped as floodwaters moved through the system in December, but improved and stabilised at all but one site through to March.
Around 40 broad-shelled and Murray River turtles of various ages were caught at sites on the Warrego River for the MER Team’s turtle research project.
More detailed information is available in the Warrego-Darling Issue 11 newsletter.
Gwydir River System
Environmental water and local rainfall have contributed to continued moderate flows down the Mehi River and into Mallowa Creek, providing wetland inundation in the Mallowa Creek system for vegetation outcomes and foraging habitat for waterbirds.
Water for the environment has supported waterbirds breeding in significant numbers in the Gwydir Wetlands, for the first time in a decade.
More detailed information is available in the Gwydir Issue 11 newsletter.
Lachlan River System
An environmental watering strategy has been taking place to maintain Lake Brewster storage at around 103%, in order to maintain water levels for a large (>20,000) pelican breeding colony.
The Down the Track Program at Lake Cargelligo was held for the first time in 12 months after delays due to COVID-19 restrictions. Participants joined scientists to learn how to perform vegetation surveys, fly drones, use fyke nets, and more!
More detailed information is available in the Lachlan Issue 11 newsletter.
Murrumbidgee River System
Grey snake surveys took place across 5 weeks in the Lowbidgee floodplain. The species was considered locally extinct in the Lowbidgee until 2018, when the MER team found individuals whilst surveying for southern bell frogs.
The MER Team and CEWO representatives discussed the importance of water for the environment and led wetland wildlife spotting activities for the community at the Yanco Creek wetland field day in March.
More detailed information is available in the Murrumbidgee Issue 11 newsletter.
Edward/Kolety−Wakool river systems
Findings from a hydrological study of the south-eastern part of Werai Forest support that upgrading forest regulators will enable environmental water to be delivered to inundate a substantial part of the forest and help to restore the forest ecosystem.
Multispectral drone mapping and ground cover surveys were conducted in Werai Forest to determine if we can effectively assess ground cover vegetation and the response of vegetation to environmental water delivery using drones.
Field experiments were carried out from November 2021 to January 2022 to examine the response of primary production to an unregulated flow pulse that inundated areas within Werai Forest.
More detailed information is available in the Edward/Kolety-Wakool Issue 11 newsletter.
Low summer flows have provided favourable conditions for the recovery of littoral vegetation.
Trout cod were collected and tagged with radio transmitters, with the characteristics of habitats used by trout cod over time recorded.
Macroinvertebrate sampling has found prawns, shrimps and yabbies, with a noticeable increase in the abundance of juvenile shrimp and prawns.
More detailed information is available in the Goulburn Issue 11 newsletter.
Lower Murray River
Fyke net and electrofishing sampling detected good numbers of young-of-the-year (YOY) golden perch, demonstrating strong recruitment for the first time in years.
Targeted electrofishing found Murray cod 2+ years old were in moderate-high numbers relative to past years, however only low numbers (less than 5) of YOY cod were detected.
More detailed information is available in the Lower Murray Issue 11 newsletter.