About the document
The summary and technical reports are the products of the fifth year of monitoring and evaluation in the Murrumbidgee River system under the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office’s (CEWO) 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 2018-19 in the Murrumbidgee River system, complementing monitoring and evaluation undertaken from 2014-2018.
The Murrumbidgee LTIM Project identified several key environmental outcomes achieved using water for the environment in 2018-19, including:
- Contributed to a significant increase in the number of native water dependent vegetation species, while contributing to a decrease in the species richness of exotic and terrestrial species over the past five years.
- Supported a diverse assemblage of waterbirds despite very dry conditions, with 40 waterbird species observed including threatened Australasian bittern, magpie goose, white-bellied sea-eagle and freckled duck; and international migratory birds including Caspian tern, marsh sandpiper, red-necked stint and sharp-tailed sandpiper. Environmental water also contributed to breeding of 13 waterbird species across the Murrumbidgee including Australasian bitterns and eastern great egrets, which was the only active egret site detected across the NSW Murray-Darling Basin in spring 2018.
- Recorded six frog species, including breeding of threatened southern bell frogs at Nap Nap Swamp, and three species of freshwater turtles (broad shelled, eastern long necked and Macquarie turtles). Overall, southern bell frog numbers have increased steadily in response to environmental water actions over the Murrumbidgee Selected Area since monitoring commenced in response to environmental water.
- Spawning of nine native and two exotic fish species in the Murrumbidgee River including threatened Murray cod and silver perch, representing the highest number of native species detected spawning over the five-year monitoring program.
- Successful floodplain spawning and recruitment of golden perch was detected in Tala Creek and the hatch-dates of recruits over-lapped with environmental water delivery. This observation is contributing to evidence that floodplain habitats may be critical for golden perch breeding and recruitment.
This report is the final to be produced for the Murrumbidgee Selected Area under the LTIM Project which concluded in June 2019 after five years. However, the monitoring and research activities under the LTIM and Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (EWKR) projects have been replaced and integrated into the CEWO’s three-year Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Program (2019-20 to 2021-22).
The information from the LTIM reports are being combined with six other LTIM Project Selected Areas to provide a Basin-scale evaluation (led by the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre) of the outcomes of water for the environment. Recommendations and limitations outlined in the LTIM Project are used to inform future management of water for the environment, using the best available scientific knowledge.