About the documents
The summary and technical reports are the products of the first year of monitoring and evaluation in the Murrumbidgee River system under the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s (CEWO) Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) Program (Flow-MER). This builds on the data and findings of the previous five-year Long Term Intervention Monitoring (LTIM) Project 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 2019-20 in the Murrumbidgee River system, complementing monitoring and evaluation undertaken from 2014-2019.
The Murrumbidgee MER Project identified several key environmental outcomes achieved using water for the environment in 2019-20, including:
- Contributing to increased diversity of water-dependent plants at sites receiving water, as compared to those not.
- Successfully recovering the local threatened southern bell frog populations in the Gayini Nimmie-Caira and Redbank systems, and supporting three species of freshwater turtles (broad shelled, eastern long necked and Macquarie turtles)
- Supported a diverse assemblage of waterbirds despite very dry conditions, with 67 waterbird species observed including threatened Australasian bittern, and blue-billed and freckled ducks; and international migratory birds including sharp-tailed sandpiper, long-toed stint and common greenshank. Environmental water also contributed to small-scale colonial waterbird breeding in six sites including parts of North Redbank and Gayini Nimmie-Caira
- Spawning of six native and one exotic fish species in the Murrumbidgee River including golden perch and threatened silver perch, and
- In a very dry year, the effective, targeted delivery of environmental water to critical refuge habitats successfully increased inundation extent and lateral connectivity between core wetlands maintaining aquatic refuge habitat critical for the aquatic vegetation and animals dependant on them.
This report is the first to be produced for the Murrumbidgee Selected Area under the Flow-MER Program which runs for three years until June 2022 (2019-20 to 2021-22).
The information from the MER reports are being combined with six other MER Project Selected Areas to provide a Basin-scale evaluation (led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)) of the outcomes of water for the environment.