The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO), the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) – Fisheries and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) have been undertaking aquatic habitat mapping to inform water management.
As of early 2021, the river system from upstream of Goondiwindi in Queensland to Wilcannia near Broken Hill has been mapped, this is 1,906 km of river! This mapping covers all of the Barwon River, much of the Darling River and parts of the Dumaresq and Macintyre Rivers. Some wonderful habitat has been identified for a diverse range of native fish species. The work was completed in four projects over six years.
Between 2018-20, CEWO and NSW DPI – Fisheries have been mapping important fish habitat along the Dumaresq, Macintyre, and Barwon rivers. This builds on project 4 undertaken in 2015, when the MDBA commissioned NSW DPI to improve understanding of environmental water requirements for fish in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin. This work was undertaken along the Barwon Darling systems and helped inform the Northern Basin Review. The information gathered from all these projects will help guide environmental water management for northern Murray-Darling Basin systems over long term planning frameworks to maximise water use and environmental benefits.
Information collected through these habitat mapping projects is being used to:
- Identify relationships between river flow height and habitat availability for native fish.
- Provide important ecological information to inform the adaptive management of Commonwealth environmental water, including watering actions in the northern Basin.
- Determine environmental flow requirements for native fish.
- Inform the protection of critical flows or releases of water for the environment.
- Project 1 - Mapping the Dumaresq: Aquatic habitat mapping to inform water management
- Project 2 - Mapping the Macintyre (the Macintyre River from its Junction with the Dumaresq River to Mungindi)
- Project 3 - Mapping the Barwon River - Mungindi to Walgett: Aquatic habitat mapping to inform water management
- Project 4 - Fish and flows in the northern Basin: responses of fish to changes in flows in the northern Murray-Darling Basin (Barwon River from Walgett to Wilcannia)