About the document
The summary and technical reports present results from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s (CEWO) Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) Program in the Murrumbidgee River system. The summary report focuses on the context and ecological responses to water for the environment. The technical report provides detailed methods, analyses and results with management recommendations. Both reports evaluate the contribution water for the environment has made to environmental outcomes in 2020-21 in the Murrumbidgee River system, complementing monitoring and evaluation under the Long-Term Intervention Project (2014-19) and MER Program.
The Murrumbidgee Flow-MER Program identified several key environmental outcomes achieved using water for the environment in 2020-21, including supporting:
- Waterbird breeding activity in 23 species (including the threatened Australasian bittern) across 26 wetland sites in the Murrumbidgee Selected Area. This included a colony of over 18,000 straw-necked and glossy ibis pairs (20,189 nests counted) at Bala (Eulimbah) in Gayini-Nimmie-Caira, which is the largest colony to have been established and supported solely by water for the environment.
- 55 waterbird species including threatened Australasian bittern, and blue-billed and freckled ducks; and international migratory birds including sharp-tailed sandpiper, Caspian terns and common greenshank.
- Six native fish species in floodplain wetlands, including un-specked hardyhead, a small-bodied native fish that is rare in the Murrumbidgee catchment.
- Spawning of seven native fish species in the Murrumbidgee River including golden perch, Murray cod and threatened silver perch
- Spawning and recruitment of golden perch on the Lowbidgee floodplain in response to delivery of water for the environment.
- Dispersal of native fish, including golden perch, observed between the Lowbidgee floodplain and Murrumbidgee River during an environmental water flow reconnection. This provides evidence that fish spawned and recruited on floodplain waterways are contributing to the golden perch population in the lower Murrumbidgee
- Six frog species were recorded across monitoring sites with breeding activity occurring for all six frog species, including the southern bell frog (EPBC Act vulnerable).
All three species of freshwater turtles (broad shelled, eastern long necked and Macquarie turtles) that occur in the Murrumbidgee Selected Area.