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Mallee River Health Strategy

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Acknowledgements

The Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following project management/support group members (listed in alphabetical order) in preparing the 2006 Mallee River Health Strategy (RHS):

Aimee Cairns Mallee CMA, River Health Officer

Genevieve Perkins Mallee CMA, River Health Officer

Miriam Yip Department of Primary Industries, Environmental Salinity Project Officer

Owen Russell

The Mallee CMA would like to acknowledge Charles Thompson and Melanie Tranter of RMCG (Rendell McGuckian Consulting Group) for their contribution to the development of the Mallee RHS; and Shelly Heron of Heron Consulting and Tim Dowe for the development of the river health risk component. The Mallee CMA would also like to acknowledge Deb Brown and Alieta Donald of the River Health Branch of the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Sharada Ramamurthy, Paula Robinson, Alison Hickey, Clare Mason, Fleur Johnson, Darren Wilson, Angelina Harper, and Danny Barnes of the Mallee CMA River and Wetland Health Unit for their assistance in the development of the Mallee RHS. The Mallee CMA acknowledges the Victorian State Government as the funding body for the production of this strategy.

Lower Murray Water, General Manager - Rural Services

Peter Kelly Department of Sustainability and Environment, Forest Manager

Sarah Parsons Mallee CMA, River Health Officer

Susan Burns

This Mallee River Health Strategy has been developed as requirement of the Victorian State Government in response to the Victorian River Health Strategy (DNRE, 2002).

Mallee CMA, River Health Officer ISBN 1-920777-17-2

Trent Wallis Mallee CMA, River and Wetland Health Unit Manager

Mallee Catchment Management Authority 2006 Disclaimer The material contained in this publication may be of assistance to you but is of the nature of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. The Mallee Catchment Management Authority on behalf of itself and its employees and agents do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purpose and readers should not act on the basis of any material contained in the publication without obtaining advice relevant to their own particular situations. The Mallee Catchment Management Authority expressly disclaim any liability to any person in respect of any action taken or not taken in reliance on the contents of this publication. Specific references to funding levels in this document are for indicative purposes only. The level of Government investment in this plan is contingent on budgets and Government priorities. Copyright Š 2006 Mallee Catchment Management Authority The material contained in this publication is copyright and the Mallee Catchment Management Authority expressly retains all rights and obligations contained in or under the Copyright Act 1968 or any regulations thereunder or any other statute or common law absolutely on its own behalf and on behalf of any funding body to whom ownership of the copyright may pass by action of contract or law.

i Mallee River Health Strategy 2006


Minister’s Foreword

The Mallee Regional River Health Strategy is one of 10 strategies developed across the State to achieve key river health objectives in the Bracks Government’s Our Water Our Future action plan and the Victorian River Health Strategy. This river health strategy is the result of extensive community involvement. This vital input has provided a framework for communities, industries and Government to work in partnership with river health managers to restore and manage our rivers over the long term. The strategy uses a ground-breaking asset-based approach. This allows river health managers to document the range of social, environmental and economic values of local waterways. It also helps identify the threats and risks to these values and establish priority actions to protect and restore our rivers. The strategy establishes regional priorities for river protection and restoration. It will be used by a wide range of stakeholders and community groups and steer river health investment. The importance of the River Murray and its key anabranches and floodplains is highlighted. These are important natural systems and a defining feature of the region’s landscape. The region’s waterways provide significant habitat for aquatic and bird species and water for irrigation and domestic use. They are a rich landscape for tourism and recreation and have extensive indigenous values. The Mallee region includes three of the six Living Murray ‘icon sites’: Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands, the Hattah Lakes and the Murray River channel. The strategy’s river health works highlight the range of actions required both to protect these icon sites, as well as to enhance the waterways and floodplains that support the river. I would particularly like to congratulate the Mallee catchment communities for their commitment to river health. Their work on public land through the Murray River Frontage Action Plan project and donations of irrigation water for key floodplain assets are a showcase for natural resource management Australia-wide. I commend their continued involvement in planning and implementing this innovative strategy. Your valuable contribution in protecting and restoring our precious rivers will benefit all Victorians.

John Thwaites Minister for Water and Environment

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Water-ponding erosion control works adjacent to Snake Lagoon, Mulcra Island.

Wetland vegetation at Wyperfeld National Park.

Goanna at Chalka Creek during the Hattah Lakes Watering Trial 2005.

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Mallee River Health Strategy 2006


Chair’s Foreword

The Mallee Catchment Management Authority is pleased to release the Mallee River Health Strategy. The Mallee River Health Strategy is a companion document to the Victorian River Health Strategy released by the State Government in 2002, and will assist the Mallee community to achieve major improvements in river health well into the future. The 5-year strategy sets regional priorities for the management of the key assets and threats associated with our waterways. It links other regional strategies, and provides an umbrella framework for our existing river-based action plans, such as the Murray River Frontage Action Plans, the Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan and the Living Murray asset plans. The Strategy also provides long-term targets for the protection and restoration of our waterways, and has been developed within an adapting and evolving framework, facilitating capacity for change based on advances in knowledge. The completion of this document is timely given the focus of major water initiatives affecting this region. These include the release of the State Government’s White Paper Our Water Our Future, the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the Murray Darling Basin Commission Living Murray initiative and the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline project. In addition, this includes the Mallee CMA’s recently expanded role as the regional caretaker of river health and environmental water reserve manager. The Mallee River Health Strategy provides the strategic framework for the region to participate in these initiatives. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all involved in the development of the Mallee River Health Strategy. Under the direction of this strategy, the Mallee CMA is committed to working with the community and our partners to achieve lasting natural resource outcomes in the region now and into the future.

Joan Burns Chair, Mallee CMA

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Contents

Glossary & Acronyms

1

1 Introduction

2

1.1 1.2

3 5

Background Context

2 Vision and Objectives for River Health in the Mallee 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

Vision Objectives Priority Setting Management Arrangements

3 Waterways in the Mallee 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

Basins Bioregions Management Zones Reaches

4 Waterway Assets and Threats in the Mallee 4.1 4.2

Mallee Waterway Assets Threats to Mallee Waterway Assets

5 River Health Priorities 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Priority Setting Framework RiVERS Information Determining High Value Reaches Determining Management Action Priorities

6 Assessment and Management Actions 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6

Key To Using This Section M1 Murray Fans Bioregion M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion M4 Murray Mallee Bioregion M5 Lowan Mallee Bioregion

7 Targets and Implementation 7.1 7.2 7.3

Targets Implementation Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

10 11 11 12 12

13 15 23 24 25

26 27 32

36 37 37 38 46

48 49 52 64 84 104 114

118 119 122 124

8 Reference List

126

Appendix 1 Mallee Waterway Strategy Objectives

129

Appendix 2 RiVERS Database

130

Appendix 3 Assumptions

131

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Glossary & Acronyms

AAV BAP BSC CAMBA CFA CMA COAG CWF DIP&NR

Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Biodiversity Action Plan Buloke Shire Council China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement Country Fire Authority Catchment Management Authority Council of Australian Governments Crown Water Frontage Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (NSW) DPI Department of Primary Industries DSE Department of Sustainability and Environment DIW Directory of Important Wetlands EPBC Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Act) EVC Ecological Vegetation Class EWA Environmental Water Allocation EWR Environmental Water Reserve FAP Frontage Action Plan FMA Forest Management Area FMIT First Mildura Irrigation Trust GIS Geographic Information System G-MW Goulburn-Murray Water GPT Gross Pollutant Trap GWMW Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water IBRA Interim Bioregionalisation Agreement ICM Integrated Catchment Management ISC Index of Stream Condition JAMBA Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement LCC Land Conservation Council LMDCMA Lower Murray Darling Catchment Management Authority LMW Lower Murray Water MDBC Murray Darling Basin Commission MDFRC Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre MRCC Mildura Rural City Council NAP National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality NHT National Heritage Trust NRE Natural Resources and Environment (predecessor to DSE & DPI) NWRACH North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (program) PV Parks Victoria RCS Regional Catchment Strategy RiVERS River Values and Environmental Risk System SEA Significant Ecological Asset (under the MDBC Living Murray Initiative) SEPP State Environment Protection Policy SES State Emergency Service SHRCC Swan Hill Rural City Council TBL Triple Bottom Line VRHS Victorian River Health Strategy YSC Yarriambiack Shire Council

Cultural Heritage Values Values relating to historic sites, archaeological sites, indigenous and non-indigenous cultural values.

Anabranch A branch of a river that eventually re-enters the main channel.

River Condition The ecological health or state of the river, which includes the water, the river bed and banks, the floodplain, the plants and animals that live there, and the biological, chemical and physical processes that occur (CRCFE, 2002).

Biodiversity The variety of all life forms - the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they form part. Bioregion A landscape based approach to classifying the land surface using a range of environmental attributes such as climate, geomorphology, lithology and vegetation. Blackwater Event Inflow of discoloured (dark) floodplain runoff into a waterway during a flood, caused by tannins from fallen leaf litter. In extreme cases, extensive fish kills can occur and yabbies will leave the water. Conservation To manage, preserve and enhance biological diversity and natural ecosystem functions. Crown Frontage Crown land abutting a river or stream. Most Crown frontages to the Murray River have been reserved permanently for public purposes and extend for approximately 60 m from the winter level water mark in Victoria and 40 m for other streams and waterways.

Distributary A natural stream channel that branches from a trunk stream, which it may or may not rejoin. Economic Values Values relating to property, grazing, apiculture, timber harvesting, water supply (pumps, pipelines etc.) and other services. Ecological Vegetation Class Vegetation type defined by a combination of floristics, life form, position in the landscape and an inferred fidelity to particular environmental attributes. Ecosystem The term used to describe the interdependence of species in the living world with one another and with their non-living environment. Environmental Values Values relating to biodiversity, flora and fauna habitat, water quality, bank stability and the riverine corridor, including its floodplains and wetlands. Environmental Water Reserve A share of water set aside to maintain environmental flows and other environment dependent water services. Floodplain Area of land adjacent to a creek, river, estuary, lake, dam or artificial channel which is subject to inundation by the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF). Habitat The living space of a species or community, providing a particular set of environmental conditions. Intermittent Stream A stream which ceases to flow in very dry periods, also called a seasonal stream. Management Unit (or Bioregional Management Unit) The primary biophysical unit, based on Bioregion boundaries, for grouping and managing waterway reaches under this strategy. Management Zone A subset of Bioregional Management Units, which incorporates a number of river reaches grouped primarily according to proximity and hydrology. Ramsar Convention (The Convention on Wetlands) An intergovernmental treaty, signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Riparian Zone The area of land that adjoins, regularly influences, or is influenced by, a river.

River reach, reach Defined longitudinal section of river for management purposes. Waterway A river, creek, stream or watercourse; a natural channel in which water regularly flows, whether or not the flow is continuous; or a lake, lagoon, swamp or marsh (as defined in the Water Act 1989). Wetland Areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres (as adopted by the Ramsar Convention, 1971).

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1

Introduction

The Murray River

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1.1

Background

Waterways and their associated anabranches and floodplains are a defining feature of the Victorian Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region. Healthy waterways and floodplains are fundamental to the region’s environmental, social and economic future and provide a range of values including: • Important ecosystem services, such as the provision of aquatic habitat and water for wetlands and floodplain ecosystems, nutrient recycling and water purification; • Extensive indigenous cultural values dating back thousands of years and more recent historic values from early European settlement of the region; • Extensive water supplies for irrigation, industrial, stock and domestic use; and • A rich and diverse landscape for tourism and recreational opportunities. The Mallee River Health Strategy (RHS) builds upon the Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies (Mallee CMA 2001) and other key action plans, directing the protection, management and enhancement of the region’s waterways, floodplains and riverine wetlands for the next 5 years. This strategy underpins the key role of the Mallee CMA as the ‘Regional Caretaker of River Health’ and provides the CMA, its partners and the community the means for achieving real and lasting river health outcomes in the Victorian Mallee. The Mallee Catchment Management Authority Region The Mallee CMA region comprises an area of approximately 43,000 km2 and is home to around 60,000 people, with the largest population centre in Mildura. Other important population centres/towns include Robinvale, Ouyen, Murrayville, Hopetoun and Birchip. The municipal boundaries of the Mildura Rural City are wholly contained within the region, as well as large sections of Buloke and Yarriambiack Shires and Swan Hill Rural City. The region is an important area for agricultural production,

both from dryland production of sheep and cereal crops, and irrigated horticulture along the Murray River. Approximately 38% of the region is public land, which includes major reserves such as the Hattah-Kulkyne, Murray-Sunset and Wyperfeld National Parks. Waterways, Wetlands and Floodplains in the Victorian Mallee The Mallee CMA region is bordered in the north by the Murray River and includes the Victorian component of the Mallee Basin, as well as sections of the Wimmera, Avoca and Millicent Coast Basins. Significant parts of the Murray River’s floodplain, anabranches and wetlands lie within the Mallee CMA region, however, the main channel of the Murray River is located outside the region, as the border with NSW commences from the winter level water mark on the Victorian side of the river. The Murray River’s floodplain, anabranches and associated wetland systems dominate the northern part of the region between the Tyntynder Flats and the South Australian border. It is characterised by three distinct riverine bioregions; the Murray Scroll Belt, Robinvale Plains and Murray Fans. The confluences of the Murray River with the Darling, Wakool and Murrumbidgee Rivers occur in the region. The seven weirs across the Murray River in the region also have a major influence on its flow. In the south, north-flowing intermittent streams of the Wimmera River system, including Yarriambiack Creek and Outlet Creek terminate in a number of large wetland complexes such as the Wirrengren Plain and Lakes Corrong and Lascelles. In the east, two effluent streams of the Avoca River system, Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks, empty into a number of large terminal saline wetlands including Lakes Tyrrell and Timboram (see Figure 1-1). Dunmunkle Creek, which is not shown, is an intermittent stream of the Wimmera River system that flows during major flood events into Green Lake south of Sea Lake. Its flow path through the southern Mallee is broad and shallow and not well defined. As this creek has not been accurately mapped, it has not been included as a river reach within this strategy. Cont’d...

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Figure 1-1 Waterways in the Victorian Mallee

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Lakes; Hattah, Arawak and Bulla, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

1.2 Context 1.2.1

Victorian River Health Strategy

The Victorian River Health Strategy (VRHS) was developed by the predecessor to the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in 2002. This document was developed to guide the future protection and management of Victoria’s waterways. The VRHS sets statewide goals for the overall improvement of river health, and the framework for the development of regional river health strategies to identify and target regionally specific waterway assets and threats. The statewide approach involves: • ‘protect the best first’ as an underlying management principle; • a common vision for the management of rivers in Victoria; • statewide targets for river restoration; • a planning framework which: - is based on community decision making within an Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) context - balances environmental, social and economic requirements - is based on the best available scientific understanding of river functioning and is responsive to new knowledge; • criteria for priority setting for investment in river protection and restoration works; • an overview of government policy relating to the management of activities affecting river health, including environmental water reserves and water allocation; and • institutional arrangements for the management of river health in Victoria.

1.2.2

Other Key Initiatives

In addition to the VRHS, three other key strategic initiatives have contributed to the development of the Mallee RHS and are important in guiding regional river health management; the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy, the State Government’s action plan Our Water Our Future, and the Murray Darling Basin Commission’s Living Murray initiative. The Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy The Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) provides the framework for management of six major asset classes across the Mallee, including biodiversity; waterways, wetlands and floodplains; water resources; land resources; cultural heritage sites; and community capacity. It sets a vision and goals for management of the Mallee CMA region to 2008, and is the principal planning tool and strategic focus for natural resource management in the Mallee.

programs across the Mallee. The prioritisation of future programs relating to waterways, wetlands and floodplains is based on three main elements: • Improve the quality of data to improve prioritisation and regional decision making; • Prioritise actions and strategies; and • Implement plans and strategies. One of the key actions under the Mallee RCS was to develop a Regional River Health Strategy and to further develop integrated decision support systems, such as the State’s RiVERS database, to improve riparian and waterway management priority setting. The Mallee RCS also acts as an overarching strategic plan, encompassing all of the existing and new regional sub strategies and action plans, including the Mallee River Health Strategy. Our Water Our Future Victoria’s 2004 water reform package, Our Water Our Future, is an action plan developed to enable more efficient water use and improved water management across the State. The reforms outlined in the document provide for the integrated management of water by integrating the VRHS, regional river health strategies, and the adaptive management of environmental water reserves. One of the key actions under Our Water Our Future was to strengthen the role of CMAs, assigning them the key role of caretakers of rivers and creeks, and providing them extra powers to manage the environmental water reserve. This increase in responsibility coincides with an increase in accountability and funding to ensure CMAs are able to undertake this new role. The Living Murray In mid-2002, the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council (MDBMC) established "The Living Murray" in response to growing evidence that the Murray River system is declining in health. The Living Murray was designed to examine the scope for environmental flows for the Murray River and to ensure the integrated management of the basin. In November 2003, the MDBMC announced a ‘First Step’ decision for the Living Murray, with a focus on maximising environmental benefits for six significant ecological assets, chosen for their regional, national, and international importance. The Victorian Mallee includes three of the six Living Murray significant ecological assets or ‘icon sites;’ the Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Island components of the Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands) Icon Site, the Hattah Lakes Icon Site and the Murray River Channel Icon Site. Cont’d...

The Mallee RCS underwent an assessment of assets and threats to identify regional priorities for natural resource management Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

5


The Living Murray will be implemented over the next five years to address over-allocation of water in the Murray-Darling Basin. The Mallee CMA and its regional partners receive significant funding under this initiative to deliver water recovery, the environmental water reserve, and environmental works and measures, contributing to its ability to achieve lasting river health outcomes.

1.2.3

Linking with Other Strategies Policies and Plans

The Mallee RHS operates within existing legal and institutional frameworks for managing the environment, including the VRHS, Our Water Our Future, and the MDBC Living Murray initiative. The following international, national, state, basin and regional treaties, policies, strategies and plans also have an influence on the development and implementation of the Mallee RHS to varying degrees. International • China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) • International Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) • Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA) National and Basin • COAG Water reforms/National Water Initiative • Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 • Murray Darling Basin Agreement • Murray Darling Basin Salinity Management Strategy 2001-2015 • Native Fish Strategy for the Murray Darling Basin 2003-2013 State • Environment Protection Act 1970 • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 • Fisheries Act 1995 • Land Conservation Council Rivers and Streams Special Investigations Final Recommendations 1991 • Environment Protection Policy: Waters of Victoria 2003 • Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy 1997 • Victorian Salinity Framework 2000 • Water Act 1989 Regional • Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy 2003-2008 • Forest Management Plan for the Mildura Forest Management Area 2004 • Land Conservation Council Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations 1989 • Mallee Native Vegetation Plan 2004 • Mallee Parks Management Plan 1996 • Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies 2001 • Mallee Wetland Operation Plans 2000; 2002 • Municipal Planning Schemes • Municipal Stormwater Management Plans • Murray River Frontage Action Plans 2003 • NSW Murray River Regional Environmental Plan (REP) No 2 1994 • Sunraysia Drainage Strategy 2002 • Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project • Mallee Wetland Strategy 2006 Mallee CMA river health related management plans and strategies that the Mallee RHS builds upon have now become key sub-plans under the strategy. These include the Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies, Murray River Frontage Action Plans and the Draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan. Refer Figure 1-2 for an overview of the strategic framework for river health management in the Victorian Mallee.

1.2.4

6

Mallee River Health Strategy

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

The Mallee RHS incorporates actions identified in existing strategies and plans that contribute to improved waterway health. It uses a statewide framework to set management priorities for 58 river reaches by first assessing the economic, social and environmental value of each reach, then considering threats to river health within the reach. The strategy and supporting document establishes a framework for all current and future work relating to waterways within the region. The strategy and its supporting document will be subject to ongoing revision as new information becomes available, supporting an adaptive management approach to river health in the region.

1.2.5

Purpose of the Mallee River Health Strategy

The Mallee RHS will: • build on and integrate existing plans relating to factors that affect river health, such as flow regimes, water quality, land use, in-stream and riparian habitat condition and floodplain linkages; • help guide land use planning and decision making processes for responsible authorities; • identify and prioritise actions for river restoration, considering environmental, social and economic values; • identify threats to waterway health and assess the level of risk based on the interaction between threats and values; • identify priority actions required to protect and enhance high value river reaches; • identify opportunities to actively involve the community in river health issues; and • provide the strategic framework for investment in river health for the next five years.

1.2.6

Achievements in River Health

The Mallee CMA, together with the community and its key partners, the Murray Darling Basin Commission (MDBC), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), Parks Victoria (PV), Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC), local government, regional water authorities, North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Program (NWRACH), Landcare groups, Trust for Nature, South Australian and NSW government authorities and neighbouring CMAs, have worked cooperatively to actively manage a range of river health related issues in the region. Major achievements that will directly contribute to the long-term health of the Murray River and other waterways within the region, include: • The establishment by the Murray Darling Ministerial Council in 1995 of a cap on the volume of water diversions from the Murray Darling Basin to 1993/1994 levels. • The establishment under the Murray Darling Basin Agreement of long-term Murray River salinity targets of 800 EC at Morgan, South Australia, and accountability by States for actions from 1988 that increase Murray River salinity levels. • The establishment by the State Government of the Mallee’s extensive park and reserve system in response to the Land Conservation Council’s 1989 Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations. This has resulted in the long-term protection of significant areas of floodplain wetlands and anabranches in National Parks and reserves, including Hattah Lakes, Lindsay Island and the Outlet Creek system. • The identification by the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council in 2003 of Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Islands and the Hattah Lakes as significant ecological assets to receive environmental water under the first step decision of the Living Murray initiative.


Other recent achievements include: • environmental watering trials to address River Red Gum and Black Box decline along anabranches and billabongs; • the development of grazing management plans and the removal of grazing from areas of State Forest, such as Karadoc and Mulcra Island; • exclusion of stock from large sections of Murray River frontage through fencing; • revegetation, weed control and erosion control of degraded river frontages; • rehabilitation of scalded floodplain areas through water ponding and revegetation; • construction and maintenance of all weather river access roads and the rationalisation of existing track networks; • rehabilitation and protection of riparian areas at popular recreation sites, including rubbish removal, track rationalisation, improved facilities and signage; • fencing and erosion control works for the protection of threatened cultural heritage sites;

Strategic Drivers for River Health

Wetlands

National • COAG Water reforms/ National Water Initiative • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Wetland Prioritisation Framework

State • Water Act 1989 • Fisheries Act 1995 • Environment Protection Act 1970 • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 • Victorian Government White Paper Our Water Our Future • Victorian River Health Strategy • Victorian Flood Management Strategy • Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy • State Environment Protection Policy: Waters of Victoria • 1991 Land Conservation Council Rivers and Streams Special Investigations Final Recommendations Regional • Mallee Parks Management Plan • 1989 Land Conservation Council Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations • Forest Management Plan for Floodplain State Forests of the Mildura Forest Management Area • Municipal Planning Schemes

Cont’d...

Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS)

International • International Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) • China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) • Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA)

Basin • Murray Darling Basin Agreement • The Living Murray • Native Fish Strategy for the MurrayDarling Basin • Murray Darling Basin Salinity Management Strategy

• extensive and coordinated community education, including the installation of interpretative signs and information boards; • monitoring of rare and threatened floodplain and aquatic flora and fauna species, such as the Carpet Python, Regent Parrot, Murray Cod, Murray Hardyhead and Murray Crayfish; • improved management of Murray River pump sites, including the removal of abandoned pumps, and the update of siting and design guidelines for new water diversion infrastructure; • development of enhanced and consistent planning controls for the protection of the Murray River corridor; and • assessment and monitoring of river health, water quality and riparian condition through the State’s Index of Stream Condition (ISC) benchmark surveys.

Mallee River Health Strategy (RHS)

Mallee Wetland Strategy

Biodiversity

Pest Plants and Animals

Other Land Based Plans

Mallee Native Vegetation Plan

Weed Action Plan

Soil Conservation Strategy

Rabbit Action Plans Biodiversity Action Plans

Landcare Strategy Draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan

Wetland Management

Waterway and Riparian Management

Environmental Water Management

Floodplain Management

Water Quality

Wetland Operational Plans

Mallee Waterway Management Strategy

Lindsay & Wallpolla Islands Water Management Plans

Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy

Draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan

Murray River Frontage Action Plans Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan

Hattah Water Management Plan

Robinvale Floodplain Management Plan

Mulcra Island Water Management Plan

Figure 1-2 Strategic Framework

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Waterwatch macroinvertebrate (water bug) surveys at Kings Billabong with the Mildura West Primary School.

Community restoration works at the Yelta Frontage Action Plan site.

1.2.7

Community Involvement in River Health

Local communities have long had an active role in the management and protection of waterways, wetlands and floodplains of the region, which are highly valued in the Mallee’s semi-arid environment for their recreational, tourism and aesthetic appeal. The Mallee CMA, as the regional ‘caretaker of river health’, has the primary responsibility for directing and coordinating river health projects and initiatives across the region and plays a major role in raising awareness and engaging the community in the management of regional river health issues. As a community based organisation, the Mallee CMA actively engages the community in river health management through its Board, Business Unit programs, Implementation Committees (IC’s) and project staff. The IC’s are CMA appointed community members that provide important community input and perspective to the development and implementation of river health strategies, plans and projects. As part of the regional community engagement process, a number of community focussed initiatives have been developed by the Mallee CMA and its partners. These have been developed to raise awareness and participation in regional river health related issues within the wider community. Three of the most notable and successful initiatives are the Mallee Waterwatch Program, River Watch and, more recently, the Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project. Mallee Waterwatch Program The Mallee Waterwatch Program is a joint initiative of the Mallee CMA and Lower Murray Water and plays a pivotal role in involving the community in river health issues, through a community-based water quality monitoring program and targeted river health education. In an average year, the Mallee Waterwatch team conducts over 100 school visits and directly engages over 5,000 school students and community members. Participants in the water quality monitoring program regularly monitor various waterways to attain baseline data at sites for which no information currently exists. As monitoring program participants are volunteers, the Mallee Waterwatch team has developed a data confidence plan that ensures the quality of this data and its suitability for use by natural resource managers. Recently, Waterwatch has focused on raising awareness of river health issues, working alongside other local agencies, such as the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre and local government to draw attention to major river health issues in the region, including salinity,

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blue green algae, altered flow regimes and stormwater management. The Mallee Waterwatch Program also works closely with Wimmera Community Waterwatch in the vicinity of the Yarriambiack Creek, for which the Mallee and Wimmera CMAs have a joint caretaker role. River Watch A joint NSW-Victoria initiative, River Watch is a non-profit community based program with participation from numerous land and water management agencies from both states. The program’s slogan is "Treat the river like a friend" and encourages people to use the Murray River and its surrounds in an environmentally sensitive manner. River Watch has a valuable education component that incorporates a variety of approaches, such as visits to schools, television commercials, signs and brochures. A 24-hour contact number facilitates the reporting of illegal activities such as rubbish dumping on frontages, illegal wood collection, vandalism and irresponsible or dangerous boating behaviour. Executive support for the program is provided through the NSW Lower Murray Darling Catchment Management Authority. The River Watch program plays an important part in the delivery of river health education, awareness and capacity building activities for the community. Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project The Mallee CMA’s Murray River Frontage Action Plan project includes two major sub-programs aimed at involving the community in river health management: the Frontage Management Grants Program and the Education and Awareness Program. The Education and Awareness Program conducts educational activities that focus on issues specific to the health of the Murray River, such as recreational pressures and general litter problems, aboriginal cultural heritage and land stewardship. The Frontage Management Grants Program complements this program by providing funding to community groups, landholders, schools, Crown frontage and diversion licensees and non-government organisations to conduct environmental restoration works on Victorian frontages and floodplain of the Murray River, its tributaries and anabranches. Other Initiatives Regional agencies such as Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, MDFRC, water authorities and local government also maintain important education and environmental awareness programs that are relevant to achieving river health objectives. For example, a Knowledge Broker is employed by the MDFRC at the Lower Basin Laboratory in Mildura. Among other duties, this position facilitates the dissemination of information regarding river


Ministerial Visit - Frontage Action Plan Targeted Works Site at Karadoc.

health issues to the community, including playing a key role in the delivery of the annual ‘Health of the River System’ Youth Forum at Lake Cullulleraine, held jointly with the local Rotary club. In addition, DPI have made a hotline number available to members of the community to report any illegal fishing activity through a 24-hour Fisheries Offence Reporting Line on 13 FISH (13 3474). River health issues have also had increased exposure at community-based events in recent years, such as field days and agricultural shows. There are also a number of specific environmental and river health community events held regularly in the region, such as National Water Week, National Tree Day, MDBC River Health Conference, Catch a Carp Day, Salt Watch Week, World Wetlands Day and Clean Up Australia Day. Environmental water donation from local irrigators is a new community initiative, run for the first time in 2005. This initiative involved the donation of unused water allocated for the 04/05 financial year to individual irrigators. Irrigators were able to nominate how much water they would donate to the environmental watering program, which was processed by local water authorities, Lower Murray Water and First Mildura Irrigation Trust. This resulted in 1,308 ML of water being donated to the environment, all of which was delivered to stressed River Red Gums within the Murray River floodplain. The Mallee RHS recognises and supports the important role these initiatives play in maintaining and improving regional river health. The strategy aims to strengthen and coordinate these initiatives to further raise awareness regarding river health issues, particularly the major regional management challenges posed by increasing salinity, decreasing water quality and altered flow regimes.

1.2.8

Community and Stakeholder Involvement in the Development of the Mallee River Health Strategy

The community and stakeholder consultation process has been critical in the development of the Mallee RHS. The initial part of this process involved a series of workshops held with community members and key stakeholders at various locations within the Mallee CMA region. The workshops were aimed at advising community members and stakeholders about the proposed development process of the Mallee RHS, and to obtain input into the social and economic values of waterways within the region. A key outcome of these workshops was population of the social and economic asset classes for the RiVERS database,

as well as, a review of the environmental data used to populate the environmental asset class of the database. Community members from the Mallee CMA’s Irrigation and Environment IC and Mallee Lands IC were also involved in this process. The development of the Mallee RHS has been overseen by the Mallee River and Wetland Health Technical Reference Committee (TRC). The River and Wetland Health TRC, which comprises representatives from the Mallee CMA Board and two IC’s, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, MDFRC and Lower Murray Water, was formed to provide technical expertise, advice and oversight for river and wetland health projects managed by the Mallee CMA. The River and Wetland Health TRC has been involved in the development of the RHS from its inception, providing technical input and local expertise to the strategy during key stages of its development, including data acquisition phase, priority setting process and risk assessment. In preparing this strategy, the Mallee CMA has also utilised and built upon the successful and widespread community consultation processes that were undertaken in the development of other waterway, wetland and floodplain management plans, such as the Murray River Frontage Action Plan project (which involved extensive consultation with local indigenous groups), the Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies, the Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan, and asset plans for the Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands) and Hattah Lakes significant ecological assets. These plans form key sub-plans under the Mallee RHS, and provide the primary basis for the actions identified in this strategy. The draft strategy underwent an initial stakeholder consultation phase, and then a 2 month public release phase, allowing stakeholder and public input into the draft strategy to be included in the final document. During the public release phase draft copies of the document were made directly available to all stakeholder, industry and community groups, such as DSE, DPI, EPA, Parks Victoria, local government, water authorities, local indigenous representatives and local Landcare groups. The Public Release Draft was also advertised to the wider community through media releases and public notices in local papers, interview on local radio and through regular updates to the CMA Board and IC’s (involving both irrigation and dryland community members). The extensive community and stakeholder input into the development of this regional strategy provides a strong foundation for ongoing community and stakeholder involvement in the implementation phase of the strategy, and the achievement of long-term improvements in regional river health. Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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Vision and Objectives for River Health in the Mallee

2

Chalka Creek, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

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2.1 Vision

• ensure that protection of river reaches with the highest ecological, social and economic values has highest priority; • ensure integration between relevant plans and strategies; and • coordinate stakeholder actions.

The Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) is based on a vision for future management of the region’s assets:

Under these broad objectives, the strategy has developed a number of management aims, applied where relevant to each reach: A Improved Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity B Manage Rising Saline Groundwater and River Salinity C Reduce the Impact of Grazing D Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms E Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals F Reduce the Impact of Current and Future Water Diversion Infrastructure G Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health H Retain Riparian Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat* I Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation J Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or Adjoining Waterways K Address Knowledge Gaps L Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health M Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites

“Informed Mallee communities protecting and improving our natural resources” The RCS sets specific goals for waterways and water resources that are aimed at protecting and improving the ecological health of waterways, wetlands and floodplains, as well as the quality of water resources available to the community. The Mallee RHS adopts the vision of the RCS, as well as those established by the Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies: “Healthy waterways that are managed in an integrated and effective manner to meet community and environmental needs for now and in the future.” and “Healthy floodplains that are managed in an integrated and effective manner to meet community and environmental needs and expectations for now and the future and in which the adverse effects resulting from floods are minimised and the benefits of flooding to the natural environment are maximised.”

To address each of these aims, management actions will be undertaken to meet specified targets, which are outlined in Chapter 6. *Aim H - includes management of instream habitat and wetland management, which are a key management priority of the Mallee RHS.

2.2.2

2.2 Objectives 2.2.1

Objectives of the Mallee River Health Strategy

Objectives for the Mallee CMA Region

Broad objectives for waterway management within the Mallee are documented in a number of existing strategies and plans, such as the RCS and the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy. Cont’d...

The Mallee River Health Strategy adopts the objectives of its framework document, the VRHS, which are to: • ensure identification and management of threats; Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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This Strategy utilises these objectives to target priority areas for protection and enhancement based on identified values. The RCS establishes the following goals for waterways and water resources within the Mallee region:

2.4 Management Arrangements

“To protect and improve waterway, wetland and floodplain health, taking into account the ecosystem and recreational services these provide to the people of the Mallee and other users downstream.”

The Mallee CMA will coordinate all aspects of the Mallee RHS, as the regional caretaker of river health, and work with various stakeholders and community groups to implement priority management actions to achieve management and resource condition targets. Of particular importance is the Mallee CMA’s strong partnership with DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, MDFRC, EPA, water authorities and local government, who play a major role in land and water management in the region. Also important are NSW and SA authorities, and the North Central and Wimmera CMAs, who work closely with the Mallee CMA to co-manage shared waterways.

“To protect and improve the quality of water resources associated with people’s entitlement to water, taking account of environmental constraints.” “To protect cultural heritage and significant landscape sites and to manage the risks to all sites.” “To promote self-reliant and informed communities able to identify, direct and implement change to protect and improve our natural resources.” The Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy identifies a number of action-based objectives for river health management, outlined in Table A1-1, Appendix 1.

2.2.3

Objectives for the Murray River

The specific objective for the Murray River for this strategy is: • to work efficiently and effectively with our partners, which include the Murray Darling Basin Commission, New South Wales and South Australian government authorities and North Central CMA, in the long-term management of the Murray River; and • to achieve the objectives of the Mallee RHS and meet its river health management targets for Murray River reaches within the Mallee CMA region.

2.3 Priority Settings The Mallee RHS establishes specific priorities for waterway management, aimed at protecting and enhancing environmental assets. Broad waterway management priorities are identified in the Mallee RHS, as follows: • first, protect existing high value waterways, floodplains and wetlands; • then, maintain the condition of ecologically healthy systems; • finally, restore those assets where there is the highest environmental and community gain for the resource invested, and real community commitment towards long-term improvements in river health, whilst ensuring no further damage from future management activities. These priorities are consistent with the management approach identified within the VRHS. They will guide both the community and the Government in the future management of, and investment in, the region’s waterways. River reach numbers have been assigned to all waterways within the Mallee Region, excluding Dunmunkle Creek. Some waterways may contain a number of reaches, depending upon their length. Each reach has been ranked in order of management priority and these priorities were established according to the environmental values of the reach. The priority setting process for the Mallee RHS is outlined in full in Chapter 5.

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This strategy does not directly address the channel of the Murray River itself (i.e. bed and sandbars, etc.), which is the statutory responsibility of NSW, or in the case of water flows and regulation, is the responsibility of the MDBC. It is intended, however, that the aims and actions of this strategy are consistent with the strategies, plans and regulations of the MDBC and NSW government agencies for the management and protection of the Murray River and its northern frontages. The Mallee CMA also works closely with its neighbouring CMAs in NSW, the Lower Murray Darling and Murray CMAs, particularly on the cross-border River Watch program. The management agencies of Victoria, NSW and SA are developing a ‘no borders’ approach with respect to the management of the Murray River, through the Tri-state Forum. This is particularly important for the management of Living Murray icon sites, which require management input from all three states. This forum allows cross-border management to be discussed, and issues to be resolved. The Mallee CMA has been working with the North Central CMA, who co-manage Lalbert and Tyrrell Creeks, and the Wimmera CMA, who co-manage Yarriambiack and Outlet Creek, to build partnerships and develop joint management plans for these waterways. The Mallee CMA intends to develop similar plans to the Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan, developed in conjunction with the Wimmera CMA and the Yarriambiack Creek Advisory committee, for all of the co-managed waterways in the region. Other important stakeholders in the Mallee CMA region include Landcare and Friends groups, landholders, schools and local indigenous groups. Each stakeholder will play a different role in the implementation of the Mallee RHS and many currently work with the Mallee CMA on existing river health projects and programs (see 1.2.6). The implementation process and role of stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Mallee RHS is detailed in full under Chapter 7 - Targets and Implementation.


Waterways in the Mallee

3

Webster’s Lagoon, Lindsay Island - Murray-Sunset National Park.

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Figure 3-1 Victorian Basins in the Mallee

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To aid the process of setting river health priorities for the Mallee RHS, the Mallee CMA region has been broken up into 4 discrete biophysical management scales of decreasing geographic size (see Table 3-1). Bioregions and basins have not been prioritised in this strategy, but have been adopted to ensure that actions, targets, outputs and outcomes can be monitored, evaluated and reported at nationally recognised biophysical management scales.

Biophysical Management Scale

Number

1. Basins

3

2. Bioregions

6

3. Management Zones

19

4. River Reaches

58

Table 3-1 Management Scale Hierarchy

3.1 Basins There are twelve major drainage divisions and 246 river basins within Australia. The Mallee CMA contains portions of four river basins or catchments (see Figure 3-1): • Mallee Basin (Basin 14) • Avoca Basin (Basin 8) • Wimmera Basin (Basin 15) • Millicent Coast Basin (Basin 39)

The Murray River during Lock 11 weir drawdown looking at the Mildura Warf.

The Mallee, Avoca and Wimmera Basins are located within the Murray Darling Drainage Division, and the Millicent Coast Basin is contained within the South East Coast Drainage Division. The Mallee region differs from other CMA areas in Victoria as it contains downstream sections of a number of basins. This means that waterway health in the region is closely linked to activities that occur outside the region, in the upstream components of these waterways. For example, there are several ephemeral waterways contained within the Avoca and Wimmera Basins, which terminate in wetland systems within the Victorian Mallee. These waterways are part of river systems that originate outside the Mallee region. Another example is the Murray River, the major waterway within the region. It originates in eastern Victoria and flows through the Mallee region before entering South Australia. One of the major tributaries of the Murray River is the Darling River, which arises in Queensland and flows through New South Wales, where it meets the Murray at Wentworth north of the Victorian Mallee. There are no waterways in the Millicent Coast Basin contained within the Mallee CMA region. Cont’d...

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3.1.1

Mallee Basin

The majority of the Mallee CMA region lies within the Mallee Basin, which covers 2,802,688 ha. The climate is semi-arid (average annual rainfall is 292 mm, BOM 2005) and, although the Mallee Basin is the largest river basin in Victoria, it contributes least to total annual average streamflow across the State, with a median annual runoff of 10 mm or less (DSE 2005b). Flooding tends to be infrequent, caused by heavy rainfall in localised areas. Although there are a number of watercourses and isolated lakes, there is no structured drainage system and flooding is generally associated with poorly drained drainage lines and/or terminal lakes in flat, featureless plains between ridges and dunes (SKM 2000). Reserves and parks occupy substantial areas of the Mallee Basin and include the Murray-Sunset National Park, the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and the northern section of Wyperfeld National Park. The Murray River The Murray River forms the northern boundary of the Mallee Basin and the Mallee CMA region, as well as the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. Originating in eastern Victoria in the Australian Alps, the Murray River travels 2,530 km before draining into the Indian Ocean near Goolwa, in South Australia. Within the Mallee CMA region there are approximately 758 km of Murray River frontage. While the river itself lies in NSW, Victoria is responsible for the management of the southern floodplain of the Murray from the winter level water mark in 1881. Within the Mallee Basin there are 29 anabranches and distributaries of the Murray River totalling approximately 446 km in length. Many of these are located in the northwest of the Victorian Mallee, on Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands. The natural flow regime of the Murray River has been significantly modified by the construction and operation of a series of weirs and upstream storages (Walker and Thoms 1993; Thoms et. al. 2000; Maheshwari et. al. 1995). These changes have altered the hydrology of floodplain environments such as Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands, which are strongly influenced by variability (SKM & Roberts 2003), resulting in a decline in ecological health. These waterways and wetlands have considerable ecological, economic and social value, as they provide habitat for flora and fauna and perform various important ecosystem services, as well as acting as conduits for irrigation water and providing recreational opportunities. The floodplain of the Murray also has important cultural significance for local Aboriginal communities. Waterway Condition Fifty river reaches were assessed in the Mallee Basin in 2004 under the Index of Stream Condition (ISC) surveys, the results of which were recently released by DSE under the document title of Index of Stream Condition - The Second Bench Mark of Victorian River Condition (2005b). This survey included 16 reaches along the Murray River previously surveyed in 1999. Overall the hydrology and regulated flow regime of the Murray River heavily influenced stream condition results. In total, 95% of reach length was in poor (57%) or moderate (38%) condition. The remainder (5%) was in either very poor condition or there were insufficient data to classify the reach (DSE 2005b). The results of the 2004 ISC survey for the Mallee Basin are shown in Figure 3-2 (opposite).

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Figure 3-2 The 2004 Index of Stream Condition Results for the Mallee Basin.

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3.1.2

Avoca Basin

The south-western section of the Mallee CMA region is contained within the Avoca River Basin, which lies in the Murray Darling Drainage Division. It is the sixth largest river basin in Victoria, covering a total area of 1,235,246 ha with an annual average streamflow of 85,000 ML. The Avoca River is one of the least regulated rivers in Victoria. There are no major dams on the river or its tributaries, although flows have been modified by changes in catchment runoff characteristics and the construction of farm dams, levee banks and other structures within the river’s floodplain. Two effluent streams of the Avoca River, Tyrrell Creek and Lalbert Creek, lie within the Mallee CMA region. The Avoca Basin also contains a small section of the Murray River and one of its anabranches, Parnee Malloo Creek. Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks are intermittent creeks that flow north-west from the Avoca River and are filled when the river floods. Flow in the Avoca River must exceed 5,000 ML/month at Charlton for these systems to commence flowing (SKM 2002a). During major floods, these creek systems remove two thirds of the Avoca’s discharge. Tyrrell Creek leaves the Avoca River between Charlton and Glenloth, flowing north-west to terminate in Lake Tyrrell, near Sea Lake. The section of river within the Mallee CMA region extends from Dumosa in the south to Lake Tyrrell in the north, a distance of approximately 81 km. For much of its length, the stream bed is generally well-defined within a confined floodplain. Overflows from the Avoca River into Tyrrell Creek occur approximately once every three years. Lalbert Creek is filled by over-bank flows from the Avoca River at a number of locations north of Glenloth. The creek flows north to Lake Lalbert, then north-west to empty into Lake Timboram. Within the Mallee CMA region, Lalbert Creek flows a distance of approximately 65 km, from just west of Lake Lalbert to Lake Timboram. Lake Lalbert fills every two to three years and appears to be unaffected by an observed reduction in the number of minor flood events, likely due to an increased number of major flood events and the construction of levees on its western floodplain that channel water into the lake (SKM 2002a). Waterway Condition River reaches were assessed in the Avoca Basin in 2004 under the Index of Stream Condition (ISC) surveys. This included the six reaches from four waterways within the Mallee CMA region: Lalbert Creek (reaches 21 and 22), Tyrrell Creek (reaches 23 and 24), Murray River (reach 25) and Parnee Malloo Creek (reach 26). The results of the 2004 ISC survey for the Avoca Basin are shown in Figure 3-3 (opposite). Condition scores could not be calculated for Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks, which make up 25% of the total reach length of the Avoca River system, because of insufficient data (DSE 2005b). Parnee Malloo Creek had one of the highest quality, but still degraded stream side zones (DSE 2005b).

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Figure 3-3 The 2004 Index of Stream Condition Results for the Avoca Basin.

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3.1.3

Wimmera Basin

The Wimmera River Basin, also within the Murray Darling Drainage Division, is the second largest river basin in Victoria, covering 2,401,130 ha. Annual average streamflow in the basin is 210,000 ML. The northern part of the Wimmera Basin lies within the Mallee CMA region and the majority of the Wimmera River system, except for the latter 67 km of Outlet Creek and 43 km of Yarriambiack Creek, lies in the Wimmera CMA region. The natural flow regime of the Wimmera River has been substantially altered downstream of Glenorchy Weir, with approximately 48% of the average annual flow diverted from the river for commercial, irrigation, stock and domestic purposes (SKM 2002b). Increasing salinity is a major water quality issue, with salt concentrations increasing downstream, due to inflow of saline groundwater and surface runoff. Outlet Creek is an intermittent effluent stream and is generally dry, filled by overflowing floodwaters from Lake Albacutya, located to the south of the Wyperfeld National Park. Recent studies suggest the wetting cycle of Lake Albacutya has been reduced from 1 in 20 years under natural conditions, to 1 in 100 years under regulated conditions (SKM 2002b). Yarriambiack Creek is a major distributary of the Wimmera River, diverging near Longerenong and flowing north through Jung, Warracknabeal, Brim and Beulah. The creek discharges into Lake Corrong and Lake Lascelles, east of Hopetoun. The creek frontage is primarily Crown land, either Water Frontage Reserve or reserved land managed by DSE, the Shire of Yarriambiack, Parks Victoria or licensees. Since European settlement of the area in the 1850s, weirs and other structures have been constructed in the creek channel to retain or control flows for agricultural development. Apart from small amounts of local runoff, flows in the creek are largely dependent on runoff upstream in the Wimmera River catchment. Yarriambiack Creek is a major conservation asset of Yarriambiack Shire and its frontage comprises one of the few sizeable areas of remnant native vegetation in the area. The creek is managed according to the ‘Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan 2004’, developed by the Mallee and Wimmera CMA’s, Yarriambiack Shire Council, DSE and Yarriambiack Creek Advisory Committee on behalf of the Yarriambiack Creek community. The Yarriambiack Creek Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the Mallee CMA, is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Plan. Waterway Condition River reaches were assessed in the Wimmera Basin in 2004 under the Index of Stream Condition (ISC) surveys. This included Yarriambiack Creek (reach 24) and Outlet Creek (reach 91) within the Mallee CMA region. The results of the 2004 ISC survey for the Wimmera Basin are shown in Figure 3-4 (opposite). Condition scores could not be calculated for Outlet Creek (reach 91) and Yariambiack Creek (reach 24) because of insufficient data (DSE 2005b).

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Figure 3-4 The 2004 Index of Stream Condition Results for the Wimmera Basin.

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Bioregion

Total Waterway Length (km)

M1

Murray Fans Bioregion

214.8

M2

Robinvale Plains Bioregion

475.0

M3

Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion

514.9

M4

Murray Mallee Bioregion

189.9

M5

Lowan Mallee Bioregion

67.5

M6

Wimmera Bioregion

Not yet defined

Table 3-2 Bioregions in the Mallee CMA Region

Figure 3-5 Bioregions in the Mallee CMA Region

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3.2 Bioregions

Extensive tree clearing for agriculture on the more elevated and arable sites have resulted in over 95% of the native vegetation communities being removed from the floodplain.

3.2.1

3.2.3

Bioregional Management Units

Bio-geographic regions, or bioregions, are relatively large areas of land characterised by broad geophysical patterns, environmental processes and ecological characteristics at the landscape scale. As such features are linked to ecosystem processes and distribution patterns of flora and fauna, bioregions provide a natural framework to identify and report on more complex biodiversity values (DNRE 1997). Bioregions have been adopted by the State of Victoria as a conservation-planning tool and are used to examine relationships between natural resource based activities and biodiversity assets in Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy (DNRE 1997). Six bioregions occur within the Mallee CMA region. These include three riverine bioregions - Murray Scroll Belt, Robinvale Plains and Murray Fans - and three dryland bioregions - Lowan Mallee, Murray Mallee and Wimmera. Consistent with the State approach, this strategy uses bioregions to define the primary Management Units in this strategy (see Table 3-2, Figure 3-5). Each bioregion (excluding M6, Wimmera) contains waterways with similar biophysical characteristics. Most waterways within the Mallee CMA region are within the Robinvale Plains and Murray Scroll Belt Bioregions. These riverine bioregions contain complex areas of Murray River floodplain, wetlands and anabranches, including Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Islands and the Hattah Lakes.

3.2.2

Murray Fans Bioregion (M1)

The Murray Fans Bioregion lies along the southern floodplain of the Murray River. Only 4% of this riverine bioregion is within the Mallee CMA region extending from Nyah to the Wakool Junction (see Figure 3-5). At 18,124 ha, Murray Fans is the smallest riverine Management Unit. The bioregion is characterised by a flat to gently undulating landscape on recent unconsolidated sediments with evidence of former stream channels, braided old river meanders and broad floodplain areas associated with major river systems and prior streams (DPI 2005). Cainozoic alluvium deposits have given rise to red-brown earths and texture contrast soils, and vegetation communities including Plains Grass woodland, Pine Box woodland, Riverina Plains Grass woodland and Riverina Grassy woodland (DPI 2005). Within the Mallee CMA region, the Murray Fans Bioregion contains about 13,200 ha of Crown land, managed primarily by Parks Victoria and DSE. This includes: • 3,700 ha of Murray River Public Purposes Reserve; • 7,000 ha of State Forest, including the Nyah State Forest and Vinifera River Reserve; • 800 ha of Wildlife Reserve; and • 1,700 ha comprising other reserves and public land. Approximately 570 ha (57 km of frontage) of the Murray River Public Purposes Reserve is licensed to 37 landholders under CWF licences. Approximately 1,000 ha of State Forest is also licensed for grazing. While comprising extensive linear sections, frontages within this Management Unit are generally narrow and approximately 75% of the bioregion has been cleared. On freehold land, farming is predominantly focussed on mixed cropping and grazing on dryland areas close to the floodplain. Some dairying and mixed farming occurs on the irrigated land in the more southerly fringes of the riverine plain.

Robinvale Plains Bioregion (M2)

The Robinvale Plains Bioregion encompasses the southern Murray River floodplain between the Wakool River junction to 5 km upstream of Merbein (see Figure 3-5). It includes the confluences of the Murray with both the Wakool and Murrumbidgee Rivers, and covers a total area of 62,218 ha. Characteristics of this bioregion are unique to the Mallee CMA region. The Robinvale Plains Bioregion is characterised by the ancient riverine plain of the Murray River, which flows through a narrow gorge confined by cliffs of up-faulted sedimentary rock (DPI 2005). Alluvium deposits from the Cainozoic period have given rise to the red-brown earths, cracking clays and texture contrast soils of this bioregion (DPI 2005). Vegetation communities include Riverine Grassy forest and Riverine Grassy chenopod woodland (DPI 2005). This bioregion includes the Hattah Lakes and Chalka Creek system, recognised under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971) as a wetland of international significance. The system is within the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and is also one of six "icon sites" established under the MDBC’s Living Murray initiative. There are approximately 40,000 ha of Crown land within the Robinvale Plains bioregion, approximately 1,300 ha of which has been licensed for grazing. The majority of this land is managed by Parks Victoria and DSE and includes: • 3,700 ha of Murray River Public Purposes Reserve; • 3,600 ha of State Forest; • 18,000 ha of Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; • 700 ha of Reference Area within the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and Murray-Kulkyne Regional Park; • 2,200 ha of Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve; and • 11,700 ha comprising other reserves and public land, including the Murray-Kulkyne Regional Park. Due to the periodic flooding of most land in this bioregion, clearance for agriculture has been minimal and about 78% of the area remains as public land, the majority of which is occupied by the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Murray Kulkyne Regional Park and Murray River Public Purposes Reserve.

3.2.4

Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion (M3)

The Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion occupies riverine floodplain and alluvial terraces along the Murray River from 5 km upstream of Merbein to the South Australian border in north western Victoria (see Figure 3-5). The bioregion is entirely contained within the Mallee CMA region and occupies a total area of 115,094 ha. It includes the confluence of the Murray and the Darling Rivers. The Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion is characterised by an entrenched river valley and associated floodplain, including complexes of numerous oxbow lakes, billabongs, ephemeral lakes, swamps and active meander belts (DPI 2005). The Murray River forms a narrow valley where fluvial processes predominate within an otherwise aeolian-dominated landscape (DPI 2005). Alluvium deposits from the Cainozoic period gave rise to the red brown earths, cracking clays and texture contrast soils which support Alluvial-Plain shrubland, Riverine Grassy chenopod woodland and Riverine Grassy forest ecosystems (DPI 2005). Cont’d...

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This bioregion includes areas of the Murray-Sunset National Park and a MDBC Living Murray icon site (Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay-Wallpolla)). It also contains a 30,000 ha Trust for Nature property, Ned’s Corner, with a large section of river frontage. There are approximately 40,000 ha of Crown land within this bioregion, primarily managed by Parks Victoria and DSE. It includes: • 1,800 ha of Murray River Public Purposes Reserve; • 18,000 ha of State Forest, including the Wallpolla Island State Forest; • 16,000 ha of the northern section of the Murray-Sunset National Park, including Lindsay Island; • 1,800 ha Reference Area on Lindsay Island; • 1,100 ha of Wildlife Reserve; and • 1,700 ha of other reserves and public land. Approximately 704 ha of Murray River Public Purposes Reserve are under CWF licence to 6 landholders. Large areas (approximately 14,500 ha) of State Forest and other public land are also licensed for grazing.

3.2.5

Murray Mallee Bioregion (M4)

The Murray Mallee Bioregion is located in northwest Victoria. Comprising 2,603,000 ha, this is the most prevalent bioregion within the Mallee CMA region (see Figure 3-5). This bioregion contains a number of intermittent river systems, including the Tyrrell and Lalbert Creek systems (Avoca Basin) and the Yarriambiack Creek system (Wimmera Basin). The Murray Mallee Bioregion is characterised by broad undulating sandy plains, often associated with low, linear sand dunes, aligned from east to west, with intervening heavier textured swales developed from alluvial, aeolian and swampy Cainozoic deposits. These deposits have given rise to calcareous earths, cracking clays and red sands. The plains, drainage lines and groundwater discharge landscapes are dispersed with salt lakes and gypsum flats with lunettes on the eastern margins of the lakes. Vegetation is dominated by East/West-Dune Mallee with some chenopod Mallee and Shallow-Sand Mallee communities, as well as Gypseous Plains shrubland, Saline shrubland (Raak), Plains grassland and Drainage-line Grassy woodland. The northwest section of the bioregion includes the Murray-Sunset National Park. Numerous reserves are also scattered throughout the bioregion, including Lake Albacutya Regional Park (within the Wimmera CMA region), Lake Tyrrell Wildlife Reserve, Lake Wahpool Water Reserve and Wandown Flora and Fauna Reserve and Public Land Water Frontage Reserves along Lalbert, Tyrrell and Yarriambiack Creeks.

3.2.6

Lowan Mallee Bioregion (M5)

The Lowan Mallee Bioregion occupies three major blocks within northwestern Victoria, each extending east from the South Australian Border (DNRE 1997). 77% of the bioregion lies within the Mallee CMA region, occupying approximately 1,128,500 ha (see Figure 3-5). White siliceous sands that form a complex array of irregular and parabolic dunes with intervening plains and clayey deposits typify the bioregion (DPI 2005). Cainozoic deposits of siliceous sands, clay, silt and mobile dunes give rise to leached sands and mottled yellow and grey texture contrast soils in the swales (DPI 2005). The vegetation is dominated by Lowan Sands Mallee with some chenopod Mallee in the Sunset Country and Sandplain Heath, Mallee Heath, Loamy Sand Mallee, Scrub-pine woodland, Broombush, Red-Swale Mallee, Yellow Gum woodland and Heathy woodland in the Big and Little Deserts (DPI 2005).

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Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Land within the Lowan Mallee Bioregion generally has low fertility, predominantly due to the low water storage capacity and high wind erosion potential of the sandy soils (Rowan & Downes 1963). Agriculture is restricted to the margins of this bioregion, where soils are heavier and more fertile. Approximately 80% of the bioregion is public land and includes areas of the Murray-Sunset and Wyperfeld National Parks, the Annuello Flora and Fauna Reserve and the Big Desert Wilderness Park. A large proportion of threatened vegetation classes lie within public reserves. The only waterway within this bioregion in the Mallee CMA region is Outlet Creek, part of the Wimmera River system, contained within Wyperfeld National Park.

3.2.7

Wimmera Bioregion (M6)

The Wimmera Bioregion has recently been redefined, and now extends into the southern edge of the Mallee CMA region west of Birchip (see Figure 3-5). It consists mainly of flat to gently undulating plains, with mostly yellow duplex soil, and some uniform grey and brown self-mulching clays (LCC 1978 cited in DNRE 2002b). This area features a system of long, low dunes running in an east-west orientation. The Wimmera Bioregion was originally dominated by Yellow Gum, Buloke, Black Box, Grey Box or River Red Gum woodlands, interspersed with large areas of native grasslands (DNRE 2002b). The bioregion is associated with relatively fertile soils, making them ideal for dryland agricultural enterprise, however this has lead to extensive clearing and the severe under-representation of many Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs) associated with the area, and decline of many fauna species (e.g. Australian Bustard, Squirrel Glider) (DNRE 2002b). The majority of the Wimmera Bioregion is privately owned, with farming enterprises including cereal, oilseed, grain and legume cropping, wool, meat and milk (Wimmera CLPB 1997 cited in DNRE 2002b). The major waterway present within this bioregion, Dunmunkle Creek, has not been accurately mapped or assessed, as its flow path through the southern Mallee is broad, shallow and poorly defined.

3.3 Management Zones Within each bioregion, a number of management zones have been defined, based on geographic proximity and a common management focus. Management zones allow smaller regional geographic priorities to be set, and the identification of management actions that will address key management issues across a number of waterway reaches simultaneously (see management zone descriptions, Chapter 5). There are a total of 19 management zones in the Mallee CMA region (see Table 3-3). M6 has not been included, as the major waterway of this bioregion, Dunmunkle Creek, is yet to be accurately mapped.


3.4 Reaches M1 - Murray Fans Bioregion Management Zone

Basin

Waterway

Reach

M1-1

Avoca

M1-2

Mallee

M1-3

Mallee

Murray River Parnee Malloo Murray River Burra Creek Murray River Wakool Creek Bridge Creek

25 26 1, 2 23, 24 3 21 22

M2 - Robinvale Plains Bioregion Management Zone

Basin

Waterway

Reach

M2-1

Mallee

M2-2

Mallee

M2-3 M2-4

Mallee Mallee

M2-5

Mallee

M2-6

Mallee

Murray River Tata Creek Murray River Bonyaricall Creek Narcooyia Creek Murray River Murray River Chalka Creek Cantala Creek Murray River Carwarp Creek Inlet Creek Outlet & Towrie Creeks

4 20 5 36 37 6, 7 8 25 38 9, 10 19 18 17

Each management zone has been further broken down into a number of reaches, ranging from one to fifteen. A reach is defined as a longitudinal section of river or creek for management purposes, with similar geology, hydrology and vegetation communities. 58 reaches have been identified in the Mallee CMA region, which range from 1 - 50 km long. Smaller creek systems are generally defined by one reach, whereas larger creeks and the Murray River are split into multiple reaches. River reaches are numbered according to the basin in which they occur, leading to some duplication of reach numbering (e.g. Lalbert Creek (Reach 21; Avoca Basin) and Wakool Creek (Reach 21; Mallee Basin)) (see Table 3-3).

M3 - Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Management Zone

Basin

Waterway

Reach

M3-1 M3-2

Mallee Mallee

M3-3

Mallee

M3-4 M3-5

Mallee Mallee

M3-6

Mallee

Murray River Murray River Thompson Creek Wallpolla Creek Dedmans Creek Finnigans Creek Sandy Creek Ranka Creek Railway Creek Willipanance Creek Moorna Creek Deep Creek Mullroo Creek Milky Creek Boy Creek Murray River Murray River Potterwalkagee Creek Murray River Lindsay River Mullaroo Creek Toupnein Creek

11 12, 13 44 39, 40 43 45 46, 47 49 50 51 52, 53 41 42 48 54 14 15 31 16 26, 27 29, 30 28

Kings Billabong, Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve.

M4 - Murray Mallee Bioregion Management Zone

Basin

Waterway

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Avoca Avoca Wimmera

Tyrrell Creek Lalbert Creek Yarriambiack Creek

23, 24 21, 22 24

M5 - Lowan Mallee Bioregion Management Zone

Basin

Waterway

Reach

M5-1

Wimmera

Outlet Creek

91

Table 3-3 Management Zones in the Mallee CMA Region

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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Waterway Assets and Threats in the Mallee

4

Murray River, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

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In order to develop a consistent and comparable approach across the state for identifying a river’s assets and threats, the Victorian Waterway Managers’ Forum, in conjunction, with DSE developed a decision support tool titled the River Values and Environmental Risk System (RiVERS). This decision support tool has been the basis for the development of regional river health strategies across the state, and has been used as the primary means for identifying high value reaches in the Mallee region; where resources for the protection and restoration of important waterway associated assets should be targeted for investment. Data on the environmental, social and economic assets of each reach were collected from existing databases, particularly the Statewide Index of Stream Condition (ISC), and local knowledge, and were entered into the RiVERS database in order to determine the geographic priorities for the Mallee CMA region. Data on threats to those assets was then entered into the database to facilitate the risk analysis process, allowing priorities for management action to be identified (see Chapter 5). Some of the key waterway values and threats of the Mallee region, including both those identified by RiVERS, and others of regional importance, are outlined in this chapter.

4.1 Mallee Waterway Assets The Mallee’s regional waterway assets were identified and assessed under three criteria: environmental, social and economic. Local knowledge was utilised to supplement data from existing databases, on assets such as significant flora and fauna, quality of riparian vegetation, fish populations, and wetlands.

Some of the key assets and sites of significance in the Mallee region are detailed below. Please refer to Chapter 6 for assets specific to each reach as identified by RiVERS.

4.1.1

Significant Flora and Fauna

The Victorian Mallee is significant for its unique communities of flora and fauna, shaped by extreme climatic conditions interacting with ancient geological histories. Aboriginal use of fire has also had a strong influence in shaping vegetation communities of the Mallee. A significant number of the species of flora and fauna in the Mallee region are classified as rare and threatened (see Table 4-1), many of which are associated with waterways or floodplain ecosystems of the Mallee. Cont’d...

Conservation Status

Flora

Fauna

Endangered Nationally

3

2

Vulnerable Nationally

13

10

Extinct

2

7

Critically endangered

10

-

Endangered at State level

30

55

Vulnerable at State level

39

99

Near threatened

39

-

Rare

1

131

Depleted

7

-

Listed on Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988

77

44

Listed on CAMBA and/or JAMBA

27

-

Insufficient data known

-

41

Source: Viridans (2004a); Viridans (2004b).

Table 4-1 Conservation Status of Flora and Fauna in the Mallee Region.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

27


Many of the vegetation communities that once dominated the Mallee landscape are now largely fragmented through land clearing. Most of the indigenous vegetation in the region now exists primarily in large blocks of public land. This includes extensive stands of Black Box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) along the region’s waterways and floodplains. These riverine woodlands and forests provide important regional habitat corridors, and have long characterised the riverine landscape of Australia (LCC 1989). Waterways and floodplains of the Mallee region are also home to a wide range of bird, fish, mammal and reptile species of state and national significance, including Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei), Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus), Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus), Spotted Bowerbird (Clamydera maculata) and Paucident Planigale (Planigale gilesi) listed under the Victorian Government’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988; as well as, Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) , Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii), Murray Hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) and Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus), that are also listed under the Commonwealth Government’s EPBC Act 1999. Floodplains of the Mallee region support a number of flora species of National significance, including the threatened Shiny Elachanth (Elachanthus glaber), Winged Peppercress (Lepidium monoplocoides), and Rohrlach’s Bluebush (Maireana rohrlachii), and the vulnerable Yellow Swainson-pea (Swainsona pyrophila). Flora species of State significance include Umbrella Wattle (Acacia oswaldii), Silver Needlewood (Hakea leucoptera), and Spiny-fruit Saltbush (Atriplex spinibractea). In addition to its rare and threatened species, the floodplains and waterways of the Mallee region host a number of ‘icon’ species with special significance for the local community, including Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii), Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua) and Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus), Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus), Tortoises (Chelodina expansa, Chelodina longicollis, Emydura macquarii), Quolls (Dasyurus spp.), Platypus (Ornitho hynchus anatinus), Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei), Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax), and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis).

4.1.2

Sites of Significance

The Mallee region contains a number of regionally, nationally and internationally significant sites, including the Ramsar listed Hattah Lakes and three sites identified as significant ecological assets by the Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council under the Living Murray initiative. This includes the Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Island components of the Chowilla Floodplain (including Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands) Icon Site, the Hattah Lakes Icon Site and the Murray River Channel Icon Site. These and other areas, along the Murray River floodplain have also been recognised for their high value habitat for significant species, such as the nationally threatened Murray Cod, Murray Hardyhead, Regent Parrot and Growling Grass Frog. A number of these are sites, such as Lindsay Island and Lake Hawthorn have also been identified, or are being investigated, as critical habitat areas for the protection of these species. Some of the Mallee’s key sites of significance are described in greater detail below. Murray River The Murray is Australia’s largest river and one of the three main waterways of the Murray-Darling Basin, along with the Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers. A Permanent Public Purposes Reserve, approximately 60 m wide, was created along the entire Victorian Murray River frontage in 1881. Parks Victoria largely manages this reserve under a service agreement with DSE. The reserve has been maintained since 1881 to protect its natural and scenic values, conserve flora and fauna, protect sites of archaeological, cultural or historical importance, minimise bank erosion, mitigate

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the effects of floods and provide recreational opportunities for the public. Adjoining areas of floodplain State Forest are managed by DSE. Some areas of Crown Water Frontages (CWF) outside National Parks and State Forest are managed by private individuals under a licence to DSE for agricultural use. These areas of licensed frontage provide shelter, water and feed for stock and are generally not fenced from the rest of the property. Other sections of the Murray River Reserve are managed by local government, through formal Committees of Management, particularly in the popular urban waterfront areas of Mildura and Robinvale. Under the 1989 Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations, the Land Conservation Council made recommendations for the future management of Crown land adjoining the Murray River within the Mallee area of Victoria. Furthermore, under the 1991 Land Conservation Council Rivers and Streams Special Investigations Final Recommendations, it was recommended that: a) for the purposes of establishing priorities for management, the Murray River be considered as if it were a Victorian heritage river; and b) that initiatives that promote and enhance the protection of its values through coordination with interstate and Commonwealth agencies, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in particular, be supported by the State Government with a view to protecting the scenic, recreational, cultural and ecological values of the Murray River corridor. These recommendations underpin the significance of the Murray River and its floodplain to the Mallee region. Historically, the Murray River has had highly variable natural flows, with large areas drying to a series of isolated pools in times of low flow. Ecological communities have adapted to cope with seasonal flow variability, floods, droughts and the associated wetting and drying cycles. Since 1922, 13 weirs have been built across the Murray River between Blanchetown in SA, and Torrumbarry, downstream of Echuca, in Victoria. Five of these are in the Mallee CMA region and significantly regulate river flows in the area. The construction of these weirs has provided a critical source of water to communities within the Mallee CMA region. The Murray River is the principal water source for irrigation, stock, food and beverage processing and other secondary industries, as well as domestic requirements. The Murray River is also a major asset of the Mallee region for a range of recreational activities (refer also 4.1.5 Socio-economic Values below). Wallpolla Island Wallpolla Island is located on the Murray River approximately 30 km west of Mildura. The island is formed by an anabranch of the Murray River, Wallpolla Creek, which leaves the Murray River downstream of Lock 10 and re-enters upstream of Lock 9. Wallpolla Island covers an area of 9,200 ha and contains 11 permanent and intermittent creeks, as well as a number of temporary wetlands. Major waterways on the island are Wallpolla, Mullroo, Ranka, Finnigans, Sandy and Willipanance Creeks. A number of other effluent creeks leave the Murray and outfall into Wallpolla Creek. Most of Wallpolla Island is contained within State Forest, with some freehold land and a wildlife reserve at the western end, near Mullroo Creek. The area has traditionally been used for grazing, apiculture, timber harvesting and water extraction. Some water extraction from Wallpolla Creek for stock and domestic purposes still occurs as part of Kulnine Station operations, and for irrigation purposes by Keera Station. The entire island, except for the Mullroo Creek Wildlife Reserve, is covered by three grazing licences. The grazing licence over the westernmost 2,000 ha, will soon be modified when the land is designated as a Cultural and Historic Reserve. The area will be managed under a Committee of Management with minimal grazing still permitted.


Wallpolla Island has high flora, fauna and geomorphological values (EA 2001) and includes areas of State and possibly National botanical significance (Ashwell 1987). Three main vegetation communities are present: River Red Gum forests, Black Box-chenopod woodlands and Short Rat-tail Grass (Sporobolus mitchellii) grassland (restricted in Victoria, Ashwell 1987). The distribution of these communities is dictated by flooding frequency, soil type, hydrology and ecology. Wallpolla Island also supports numerous threatened species, including Bigonia Emubush (Eremophila bignoniiflora), Yellow-tails (Ptilotus nobilis), Great Egret (Ardea alba), Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis), Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura ornata) and Eastern Water Skink (Sphenomorphus quoyi). For a complete list of significant species, see Section 12 of the Supporting Document. The main threat to the ecological values of Wallpolla Island stems from altered flow regimes associated with river regulation. Altered flow regimes disrupt many river-floodplain processes and represent a major threat to ecosystem productivity and diversity (Boulton & Lloyd 1992; Bunn & Arthington 2002). Lock 10 has reduced the frequency of flows in upper Wallpolla Island, while Lock 9 causes water ponding in the lower part of Wallpolla Creek, also affecting its anabranches. The extent of the influence of Locks 9 and 10 on the Wallpolla Island waterways is linked to the volume of water held in the weir pools and the rate of its release. Other ecological threats include soil and water salinisation, over-grazing by wildlife, structural damage caused by pest animals and stock; apiculture; timber harvesting and firewood collection; and recreational pressures. Most of these threats are limited and are managed in line with the changes to land status that arose from the Land Conservation Council Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations, 1989. Guidance regarding future management of these threats is provided in DSE’s Forest Management Plan (2004) and the Merbein to South Australia Border Murray River Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b). Lindsay Island and Lake Wallawalla Lindsay Island is created by the Lindsay River anabranch, which leaves the Murray River approximately 100 km downstream of Mildura (about 10.5 km upstream of Lock 7) and re-enters approximately 7 km before the South Australian Border. The island occupies about 1,500 ha and is dissected by numerous streams and billabongs. The entire island is contained within the Murray-Sunset National Park, which was created in 1991. Prior to this, the area was used to graze stock. At present there is approximately 1,457 ha of irrigated horticulture at Lindsay Point, which adjoins the National Park. Lindsay Island is a nationally significant wetland, due to its flora and fauna values, and is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (EA 2001). A variety of vegetation communities are found on Lindsay Island, due to its high topographic diversity. These communities include Black Box-chenopod woodlands, Southern Cypress Pine (Callitris preisii) and Belah (Casuarina pauper) woodlands, chenopod shrublands, River Red Gum forests, as well as extensive areas of intact Short Rat-tail Grass (Sporobolus mitchellii) grasslands, a restricted vegetation community, in the east of the island (Zukowski & Meredith 2005). The island also supports various species that are significant at National, State and regional levels, such as Plains Spurge (Euphorbia tannensis), Murray Lily (Crinum flaccidum) and the nationally vulnerable Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii) and Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus). For a complete list of significant species, see Section 12 of the Supporting Document. Lake Wallawalla is a large riverine lake and lunette system situated south of Lindsay Island, also in the Murray-Sunset National Park. The lake supports a number of significant flora and fauna and is an example of an unusual wetland formation in Victoria (EA 2001). A number of indigenous heritage sites are also found in the area.

The lake bed supports herb communities during dry periods and is fringed by Black Box and Old-man Saltbush woodlands, with small areas of River Red Gums (Beovich 1993). While no flora species listed as rare or threatened nationally have been recorded at the lake (DNRE 1995, 2001), eleven locally threatened flora species are present (LCC 1987, DCE 1992). Lake Wallawalla also attracts regionally significant numbers of waterbirds when flooded and 34 waterbird species have been recorded, including five species listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and one species listed as nationally vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999. Changed flow regimes are the biggest threat to these values. All waterways within the Lindsay Island area have suffered from altered flow. Hattah Lakes The Hattah Lakes system is situated within Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, located between Mildura and Robinvale. The system is a series of 17 perennial and intermittent freshwater lakes fed mainly from the Murray River via Chalka Creek. Of the 17 lakes, 12 have been declared as wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, and the National Park area is a designated Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program. The lakes fill only during high floods on the Murray River, as high flows are required before water enters Chalka Creek, which then flows into the lakes. Modifications to Chalka Creek include deepening and regrading of the channel, and the installation of a regulator at Messengers to prevent floodwater from receding (DNRE 1996; cited in DSE 2003b). Once flow in Chalka Creek stops, most of the lakes dry quickly, with few holding water for more than 12 months (Souter 1996; cited in SKM 2004f). Lakes Hattah and Mournpall are the most permanent of the system, reportedly holding water for up to 3 and 7 years respectively (SKM 2004f). The system’s natural function is as a natural flood mitigation area, storing excess run-off and releasing it slowly through evaporation. The wetlands act as a sink, or store, for sediments and nutrients washed from the surrounding catchment (DSE 2003b). The Hattah Lakes and surrounding Hattah-Kulkyne National Park are widely utilised by the community for recreational pursuits such as canoeing, swimming and fishing. Adjacent to the National Park is State Forest and private land used primarily for dryland cropping, stock grazing and irrigated horticulture (DSE 2003b). The vegetation of the lakes is dominated by Black Box, River Red Gum and Eumong, present as small trees with patches of Tangled Lignum up to 3 m in height (DSE 2003b). The structure and composition of the vegetation has been severely modified since European settlement by stock and native animal grazing, logging and pest plants and animals. More than 100 species of indigenous flora has been found at the site, including endangered species such as Annual Flat-sedge (Cyperus nervulosus), and Winged Peppercress (Lepidium monoplocoides) (DSE 2003b). The lakes also support a diverse range of fauna species, including protected species such as Murray Hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis), and Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus). Substantial changes to the hydrological regime of the Hattah Lakes system, following modification of both the Murray River and the Hattah Lakes have resulted in a general reduction in the winter/spring flood peaks, and significant reductions in the flooding and inflow frequency of the lakes (SKM 2004f). Flood initiation has been delayed and the duration of flooding reduced. Under the Living Murray Environmental Works and Measures Program, pumping and water retention works have been undertaken to improve the frequency and duration of lake inundation, and the diversity of water retention patterns throughout the lakes system. Cont’d...

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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4.1.3

Nationally Significant Wetlands

The Mallee region contains a number of nationally significant wetlands, including Ramsar, JAMBA and CAMBA listed wetlands (see Table 4-2). Nationally important wetlands are also listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands (DIW) in Australia (EA 2001), or on the Register of the National Estate. There are also many regionally significant wetlands in the Victorian Mallee, which contains over 1,000 wetlands greater than 1 ha in area, occurring in both riverine and dryland bioregions. While most riverine wetlands are associated with the Murray River system, there are also a number of wetlands associated with the Yarriambiack, Outlet, Lalbert and Tyrrell Creek effluent systems, including Lake Timboram, Lake Corrong, Lake Lascelles and the Wirrengren Plains. Wetlands of the Victorian Mallee provide a number of important ecosystem services. They trap sediments and nutrients, maintaining water quality, and provide protection from floods by storing floodwater and releasing it slowly. They also provide a diversity of vegetation communities and habitats for waterbirds, native fish and other fauna, that includes species listed as

threatened under the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999, such as Murray Cod, Murray Hardyhead, Growling Grass Frog and Regent Parrot. A number of the region’s wetlands are important to agriculture, providing water for irrigation, stock and domestic supply, e.g. Kings Billabong and Lake Cullulleraine. Other wetlands such as Psyche Lagoon, the Wargan Basins and Lakes Hawthorn and Ranfurly provide an important role in regional salt interception and irrigation drainage disposal. The region’s wetlands are also used for numerous recreational purposes, including fishing, boating, swimming, hunting, birdwatching, camping and bushwalking. Many wetlands also have archaeological and cultural significance, such as Major Mitchell Lagoon, and are listed as historic reserves. Management of significant wetlands within the Victorian Mallee will be addressed by the Mallee Wetland Strategy. Management of significant wetlands that occur along river reaches is also considered within this strategy, with actions to address wetland health linked to flow management for particular reaches or management zones.

Significance

Land Tenure

Wetland

Associated Waterways

Listings

National

State Forest

Belsar Island

Murray River upstream of Robinvale, Narcooyia Creek

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

Freehold, Public Land, Water Frontage

Tyrrell Creek & Lalbert Creek

Avoca River

DIW

National

Freehold Drainage Reserve

Cardross Lakes1

Drainage Basins2

DIW

International

National Park

Hattah Lakes

Murray River upstream of Nangiloc, Chalka Creek

CAMBA/JAMBA, Ramsar Convention, Register of the National Estate, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

National

State Wildlife Reserve

Heywoods Lake

Murray River upstream of Murrumbidgee Junction

DIW

National

State Wildlife Reserve

Kings Billabong Wetlands

Murray River upstream of Mildura

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

Drainage Reserve

Lake Ranfurly1

Murray River between Mildura and Merbein

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

State Wildlife Reserve

Lake Tyrrell

Tyrrell Creek system

DIW

National

National Park

Lake Wallawalla

Murray and Lindsay Rivers

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

National Park

Lindsay Island

Murray and Lindsay Rivers

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

Historic Reserve

Major Mitchell Lagoon

Murray River at Wakool Junction

DIW

National

National park, Historic Reserve, State Forest, Freehold

Pink Lakes1

Groundwater discharge basin2

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

National Park

Raak Plain1

Groundwater discharge basin2

DIW

National

State Forest, State Wildlife Reserve, Freehold

Wallpolla Island

Murray River upstream of Lock 9, Wallpolla Creek

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

National

Drainage Reserve

Wargan Basins (Meridian Lakes)1

Groundwater disposal/basin off flood plain

DIW, JAMBA, CAMBA

1 Not connected to River System through surface hydrology.

2 Not included in this strategy (will be considered in Mallee Wetland Strategy).

Table 4-2 Overview of Nationally Significant Wetlands in the Victorian Mallee.

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Mallee River Health Strategy 2006


4.1.4

Public Land

Public land is vital to the protection of indigenous flora and fauna communities in the Mallee, as in many cases it contains the only remnants of communities on land not utilised for production or development. Central to the classification of public land in the Mallee were the Land Conservation Council’s (LCC) Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations. The LCC was established by the Land Conservation Act 1970, and was abolished in 1997, when it was replaced by the Environment Conservation Council and in 2001 by the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC). One of the functions of the LCC was to make recommendations to the Minister for Planning and Environment to provide for the balanced use of public land in Victoria. The Council identified areas for the continued use or establishment of parks, reference areas, education areas, flora reserves, flora and fauna reserves and wildlife reserves. In response to the LCC Final Recommendations, a number of major parks have been expanded or established in the Victorian Mallee under the National Parks Act 1975. These Parks, which include the Murray-Sunset, Hattah-Kulkyne and Wyperfeld National Parks, the Big Desert Wilderness Park, Albacutya (part of the Wimmera CMA) and Murray-Kulkyne Regional Parks, represent 40% of the total area of State’s park system and contain highly significant vegetation communities, flora and fauna, landscape and cultural heritage values (DNRE 1996). All these parks, with the exception of the Big Desert Wilderness Park, are important for the long term protection of the region’s significant waterways, wetlands and floodplains, which include the Outlet Creek system, Lindsay Island and the Hattah Lakes. Management of the region’s parks is directed by the Mallee Parks Management Plan (DNRE 1996). Under the Reference Areas Act 1978, a number of tracts of land were established as reference areas in the Victorian Mallee in 1989. Reference areas are permanently reserved tracts of public land that contain viable, relatively undisturbed samples of at least one land type. These areas typically include land types that have been modified elsewhere due to activities such as agriculture, mining or intensive timber production. Reference areas associated with the Murray River floodplain include: • Tarpaulin Island C19 (440 ha, Hattah Lakes management zone); • Chalka Creek C4 (400 ha, Hattah Lakes management zone); • Toupnein Creek C11 (1,660 ha, Lindsay Island management zone); and • Lake Wallawalla C2 (1,060 ha, Lindsay Island management zone). There are no reference areas associated with other waterways in the Mallee CMA region. The Victorian Mallee also contains large areas recommended by the LCC as riverine State Forest, primarily along the Murray River. The 2004 Forest Management Plan for the floodplain State Forests of the Mildura Forest Management Area (DSE) provides for the long term management and protection of these riverine forest areas. The Plan identifies and prioritises regional management actions, which closely align with the actions of the Murray River Frontage Action Plans (Mallee CMA 2003b, c, d). Furthermore, the terms of reference for a current VEAC investigation into the health and future sustainability of River Red Gum forests has recently been announced. The study area, which was initially to include only forests adjacent to the Murray River between Yarrawonga and Swan Hill, has been expanded to include the area between Swan Hill and the South Australian border. Recommendations stemming from this study are likely to include provisions for the formal protection of River Red Gum forests with high ecological value within parks or reserves, which may include areas within the Victorian Mallee.

4.1.5

Socio-economic Values

The Murray River is the lifeblood of the Mallee community. It sustains the economy of the region through tourism and the horticulture industry, and provides immeasurable social value for the local community for its aesthetic value and recreational opportunities. Tourism and Recreation The Mallee CMA region provides a number of tourism and recreation opportunities, centred on its national parks, wilderness areas, climate, heritage and culture. The Murray River is the driving force of the local tourism industry, and an estimated 869,000 people visited the Mildura Murray outback in the year ending March 2004 (SMEDB 2005). Recreational activities include bushwalking and self-reliant camping, fishing, boating, and swimming. River-based recreational pursuits such as recreational fishing are particularly popular in the Mallee, and provide great tourism opportunities for the region. Recreational settings range from ‘semi-developed (Lock 11)’ to ‘roaded natural (most river bends)’ to ‘semi-remote (Lindsay Island),’ creating a range of recreation opportunities (DCNR 1993). While tourism and recreation are important social values in the Mallee CMA area, recreational pressures such as litter, track proliferation and soil erosion need to be managed to ensure people’s enjoyment of the river does not impact upon its health. Most recreational activities in the region are well regulated, however, there is an ongoing need to monitor, reduce and manage recreational impacts where management or resourcing gaps exist or arise. Multi-agency forums such as River Watch and the Mallee CMA’s Native Fish Protection Working group provide important opportunities to raise and address these gaps. Productive Land Use Productive land forms the basis of the economy of the Mallee. The Mallee produces 50% of Victoria’s cereals (covering both wheat and barley), as well as a high percentage of Victoria’s irrigated horticulture, including citrus, viticulture and dried fruit (Mallee CMA 2003a). The majority of the 27,000 km2 of private land in the Mallee region is used for broadacre dryland farming, with the remainder comprising irrigated agriculture and urban settlement (Mallee CMA 2001). The main enterprises of productive land in the Mallee (grape production, citrus and grain production) contributed the following amounts to the regional economy in recent years: • The total grape harvest value in the Murray Valley region for wine grapes in 2004 was $224.7 million. • The total value of Australian production of table grapes in 2002/2003 was $171.7 million, of which an estimated 69% was contributed by the Mildura region. • The farm gate value (based on average prices) of dried fruit in the Mildura region in 2004 was $41.6 million. • The total value of citrus export in Victoria in 2002/2003 was $71.9 million, of which the majority was contributed by the Mildura region. • The total average farm gate value of wheat production in 2003/2004 was $153.1 million; of barley was $81.8 million; and of canola, legumes and triticale was $16.2 million. Source: SMEDB 2005 The area under irrigation in the region has grown by around 1,000 ha per year since 1994, and while irrigated land makes up just 1.4% of the Mallee CMA region, it contains 36% of the value of agricultural land (Mallee CMA 2003a). All the irrigation downstream of Nyah (other than that supplied by water authorities) is sourced through private diversion, and all areas are supplied with irrigation water from the Murray River Cont’d...

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Cultural site protection on the Murray River frontage.

(Mallee CMA 2001). This diversion is necessary to sustain production in the Mallee; however it needs to be managed to ensure river health is not affected through flow modification, rising groundwater, drainage, and poor management of pump sites. Indigenous Cultural Heritage Values Indigenous cultural heritage values refer to sites of significance for local indigenous communities. All registered and unregistered Aboriginal places, objects and archaeological sites are protected under State and Commonwealth legislation and the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People on land and water are recognised under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. The majority of the Murray River floodplain has high cultural heritage value for local indigenous communities, particularly numerous areas of river frontage. Existing communities retain strong and ongoing links to these frontages and there are currently a number of applications lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal for a determination on claims under the Native Title Act 1993. These include four separate applications lodged by the Wadi Wadi; the Wamba Wamba, Barapa Barapa and Wadi Wadi peoples; the Latji Latji Peoples; and the Robinvale Aboriginal Community for a determination on Native Title. Cultural heritage sites along the Murray River provide evidence of occupation by indigenous people dating back over 16,000 years. Within the Mallee region, over 3,800 archaeological sites have been recorded on the Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Site Register. Most of these sites are located close to water, reflecting the importance of the region’s rivers and wetlands to both past and present indigenous communities. Registered sites include burial sites, scar trees, mounds, surface scatters of baked clay or stone tools and isolated artefacts, particularly within the vicinity of the Nyah State Forest, Vinifera Reserve and Bumbang Island (AAV 1998). Freshwater shell middens are also found throughout the area. Aboriginal people of eight language groups have traditionally occupied the Victorian Mallee - the main groups include Latji Latji, Wergaia, Wadi Wadi, Wamba Wamba, Jari Jari and Dadi Dadi. The Latji Latji, Wadi Wadi and Wamba Wamba peoples made extensive use of the Murray River, while the Wotjobaluk people, whose main language was Wergaia, occupied most of the southern Mallee. This Mallee RHS contributes to the protection of cultural heritage sites by: • prioritising management actions that protect cultural heritage sites, such as erosion control and community education; • ensuring compliance with relevant legislation prior to and during works on the floodplain; • providing links to actions that protect cultural heritage sites identified in the Frontage Action Plans; and • supporting actions that protect new cultural heritage sites identified within State Forest Protection Zones.

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4.2 Threats to the Mallee Waterway Assets Threats to the region’s waterways were also identified for each reach to identify where valued assets were at risk. This was done using the RiVERS database, which considered criteria including physical characteristics, flow, water quality and biological threats. The database takes into consideration the level of impact the threat can have on an asset, and also the likelihood of it occurring. For example, flow modification is considered one of the most significant threats to the Mallee’s assets, while algal blooms, which have the potential to cause significant damage to river health, have a lower risk of occurring. The major threats of importance in the Mallee region are detailed below. It is important to note that these threats often have an integrated and cumulative impact on river health, increasing the complexity of their management. In addition, simply removing a threat does not guarantee its impacts will not continue to be felt, and additional management intervention is often required. This consideration has been factored into the prioritisation of management actions in the Mallee RHS (see Chapter 5). Flow Modification Flow modification of the Murray River system has occurred to meet the needs of navigation, irrigation and urban water use. The trend of land use change, from grazing and broadacre cropping to more intensive horticultural production, in addition to population growth, has lead to greater demand for water over time. Flow regulation has resulted in changes in the frequency, magnitude and duration of flows, and the restriction of small to medium flood events. River regulation, including the effect of locks, weirs and dams, has altered wetting and drying phases of many wetlands and ephemeral anabranches, by either permanently inundating the area, or restricting flows. This has significance for River Red Gum communities, Black Box communities, fish populations, algae, nutrient cycling, riparian vegetation, biodiversity, water quality, channel shape and form, and submerged and emergent aquatic macrophytes. Engineering works such as the building of levees can alienate large areas of the floodplain, affecting flood conveyance, flood storage, water quality and bank erosion. In addition to threatening wetlands and waterways, this can lead to the degradation of existing native vegetation and decreased regeneration. Lack of flooding over an extended period in recent years has put the health of many River Red Gum forests in the Victorian Mallee at severe risk from water stress, and studies have shown that these communities may be experiencing significant population losses (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004). To address these issues, DSE in partnership with Parks Victoria and the Mallee CMA are continuing the emergency Red Gum


Outlet Creek in the Wimmera River Basin.

watering project, using surplus flows and environmental water from the State’s 27,600 ML Murray River Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) to target trees exhibiting signs of major water stress. This is occurring at a number of anabranches and wetland sites along the Murray River including Burra Creek, Lindsay River, Chalka Creek and Potterwalkagee Creek. The Avoca system, containing Lalbert and Tyrrell Creeks, is one of the least regulated rivers in Victoria, with changes in flow resulting mainly from catchment processes, influenced by levees and changed runoff patterns due to land clearing, cultivation and the widespread application of gypsum. While the Avoca system is predominantly unregulated, many catchment dams have been constructed in the upper catchment. These dams limit flow into the Avoca River but the level of diversion to date has probably not been significant at a catchment scale (J. Martin, pers. comm.; cited in SKM 2002a). Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWMWater) now requires licences for such farm dams (R. Leeson, pers. comm.; cited in SKM 2002a). The Wimmera River distributaries, Yarriambiack Creek and Outlet Creek, are heavily influenced by headwater storages and diversions. The Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project is expected to provide an increased environmental water reserve to these reaches, using water savings made available from pipelining the inefficient Wimmera Mallee stock and domestic channel system. Groundwater Threats Groundwater relationships vary along the length of the Murray River. In some areas groundwater discharges into the Murray, substantially increasing salt levels, while in others, the Murray recharges the groundwater. Groundwater recharge increases during floods, while during low flows, increased drainage of aquifers back into the Murray occurs. Groundwater has risen in the Mallee due to dryland clearing and irrigation. Once watertables rise to within about two metres of the soil surface, groundwater is drawn to the surface by capillary action, leading to salt accumulation and salt scalds (Mallee CMA 2003a). Locks and weirs have also artificially raised groundwater. This increase in groundwater level has lead to an increase in the discharge of salt to the floodplain and river system. This is a major threat to river reaches in the irrigation areas near Mildura, Robinvale and Nangiloc. River salinity increases enormously between Robinvale and Red Cliffs. Historically about one third of this salt load entered a 4 km stretch near Karadoc (Mallee Cliffs in NSW) where the underlying aquifer is constricted by a ridge in the basement rock, forcing groundwater into the river. This salt load has been reduced by groundwater interception pumps at Mallee Cliffs. Similar pumps serving the same function operate between Mildura and Merbein on both sides of the River. Significant salt inflows also occur in the Lindsay River area. Groundwater flows to the floodplain have significant impacts at Bullock Swamp, Karadoc Swamp, and most of the river system from Red Cliffs to Merbein. This is associated with groundwater build up caused by irrigation and weirs.

Salt inflows also occur in areas where Blanchetown clay is absent. This allows more groundwater to enter the River around Mildura and in the reaches of the Murray close to the Lindsay River area. High river salinities are often experienced on a flood recession where salt accumulated in the floodplain drains into the river. Grazing Licences for grazing exist within the Crown Water Frontages and State Forests of the Murray River floodplain, its anabranches (e.g. Burra Creek), and along the Yarriambiack, Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks. Grazing pressures can lead to soil disturbance and compaction, increased bank erosion, introduced weed species, and increased runoff of sediments and nutrients to the river. Compaction and selective grazing can also lead to vegetation degradation, decreased regeneration and loss of habitat for native fauna species. Drainage Drainage of water from irrigation into low lying areas of frontage, the river, or the adjoining floodplain has lead to rising watertables and salinity, waterlogging and increased nutrient loads in the river. This can result in increased risk of algal blooms, the death or decline of native vegetation, and increased spread of weed species, and can impact the amenity of the affected site. Poor structural condition of drains may also result in increased sediment loads to the Murray River and wetlands from erosion. Stormwater Stormwater drainage systems are designed to transport water runoff from urban areas directly to wetland or river systems. Many pollutants can be transferred from these urban areas through stormwater, such as chemical pollutants, heavy metals, sediments, nutrients, salts and litter, causing a decline in local and downstream water quality. Local governments have implemented a number of stormwater systems in the Mallee region over the past few years, including the installation of Gross Pollutant Traps (GPTs) to remove large pollutants. As GPTs are not effective at removing smaller sized sediments, nutrients and other pollutants, local government is investigating the use of constructed wetlands to treat stormwater prior to its entry into natural wetland or river systems. Mildura Rural City Council (MRCC) have planned the construction of a wetland to treat stormwater from the Etiwanda drain, however the effectiveness of constructed wetlands to treat stormwater in regions of low annual rainfall is not well known. This knowledge gap is currently the subject of a joint project between MRCC and the Mallee CMA. Algae Algae are photosynthetic plants that naturally occur in waterways. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) cause problems when they multiply quickly (form blooms) under the right conditions; usually warm, still, nutrient-rich waters. These conditions are facilitated by the pollution of waterways with nutrients, reduced flow velocities (particularly in weir pools) and the degradation Cont’d...

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Impacts of Water Diversion Works on the Murray River at Nangiloc.

of river systems. Disposal of drainage water to the floodplain can also lead to local eutrophication (excessive growth of algae or pest plants) in billabongs, which can impact the ecology of the wetland. Outbreaks of potentially toxic blue-green algae are a major threat to water consumption and ecological communities. Algal blooms significantly decrease the quality of water, and water can become unpotable for humans and animals. Oxygen requirements of algal blooms threaten aquatic biota communities through oxygen depletion (Mallee CMA 2003a). Human health effects range from skin and eye irritation resulting from primary contact, through to mild to acute toxicity through ingestion (Mallee CMA 2003a). Although variation in blue-green algae population numbers is a natural occurrence, the frequency and intensity of blooms appears to have increased. Weir pools are particularly prone to algal blooms as low turbulence and temperature stratification can cause nutrients to be released from sediments. These conditions also adversely affect both recreation and dependent economic activities. Other Water Quality Parameters Other key water quality parameters include salinity, turbidity, pH, toxicity (e.g. herbicides, biocides, agro-chemicals), temperature and dissolved oxygen. These parameters are heavily influenced by catchment activities and adjacent land use, and can affect the suitability of water for aquatic biota and influence biodiversity within waterways, e.g. spawning failure associated with low pH values. Low water quality can also affect its capacity for productive use, e.g. irrigation supply and town water supply (Mallee CMA 2003a). These parameters are often closely correlated with flow rates. Extremely low flows, such as those experienced in weir pools, often result in stratification of water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels with depth. External factors influencing key water quality parameters include groundwater inflow, introduced aquatic biota, and irrigation drainage water. Loss of Instream Habitat Instream habitat is important for aquatic ecosystems as it provides places for aquatic fauna to breed, rear juveniles, and shelter from strong currents and predators. Woody debris and instream vegetation also provide a valuable food source for fish and macro invertebrates such as insects, snails, worms and shrimp. The removal of instream habitat through desnagging and the clearing of riparian vegetation threatens aquatic ecosystem dynamics through the resultant decrease in aquatic fauna recruitment and survival. Recreation Impacts on River Health The Murray River is a popular recreational destination for the local community and visitors alike. Recreational use is an important value of the Murray River, however its environmental impact means it is also considered a threat. Potential impacts of recreation include littering, track proliferation, fishing

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pressures, fallen wood depletion (a source of habitat), soil compaction and erosion. A range of agencies are presently working together to manage recreational impacts on river health. For instance Parks Victoria and DSE Forest Management patrol camping areas for littering, driving off formed roads and ensuring camp fires comply with fire regulations; whereas DPI - NSW Fisheries (Murray River) and DPI - Fisheries Victoria (Victorian waters) are the principal providers of services aimed at ensuring that recreational fishers comply with respective NSW and Victorian fisheries regulations. The Mallee CMA, as the caretaker of river health, plays a vital role in facilitating cooperation between management agencies addressing recreational impacts and ensuring integration of effort for the benefit of river health. Examples of the CMA’s role in this area, includes the coordination of the Murray River Frontage Action Plan project and ongoing participation through the cross-border River Watch program. The region is experiencing high population growth and an increase in visitation that is increasing the potential impact of recreation. River bends with sandy beaches are particularly popular and receive high recreational pressure. Recreation is not recognised as a threat within the RiVERS database, therefore local knowledge was used to identify priority areas for recreation management, based on known usage and the existence of high value environmental assets. Management of Existing Pump Sites/Water Diversion Infrastructure Poor management of some existing pump sites has impacted on the environmental and scenic landscape values of frontages. Pump sites can result in a decrease in bank stability from poorly located pumps, impacts to landscape amenity from unsightly or poorly screened pumps, and soil and water contamination through the inappropriate storage of fuels. Proliferation of access tracks for pump maintenance can lead to soil erosion and compaction, and reduction in water quality. Disposal of filter backflush water releases a slug of nutrients into the river, and may also provide an erosion risk. New irrigation development is required to meet Siting and Design Guidelines for Water Diversion Works on or across Crown Land (DNRE 2002c), and will be informed by a Strategic Planning Study of Water Diversion Works for the Murray River currently being developed by Lower Murray Water, in partnership with the Mallee CMA. Over time these standards for new developments will also be applied to existing pump houses, with the main priority the improvement or removal of disused or abandoned pump sites. From an audit conducted in 2003 by Lower Murray Water, approximately 507 pump sites along the Murray between Nyah and the SA Border have been assessed. Weeds Pest plants in the Mallee threaten both biodiversity and the productive capacity of land. In many cases weed infestation has changed the composition and character of the riverine landscape. Weed infestations also impact on the use of popular recreational


spots in riparian areas, affecting aesthetic values and limiting access. Environmental weeds compete with established and regenerating indigenous species, threatening the quality and extent of native vegetation and fauna habitat on frontages. Environmental weeds present a significant risk to remnant roadside vegetation, as the ‘edge effect’ is particularly difficult to manage in these long, thin areas. Proliferation of Willows in riparian zones is a recognised threat to water quality from nutrient pulses caused by rapid shedding of leaves in winter. Willows can spread rapidly, leading to displacement of native vegetation, decreased diversity of indigenous flora and fauna, and physical interruption to water flow (causing changes in water course behaviour). Willows in the Victorian Mallee occur mainly in weir pools, where stable water levels support Willow propagation. Agricultural weeds compete with crops for nutrients, water and physical space, leading to diminished yields and produce quality (Mallee CMA 2003a). Weed control increases costs of production, and spined weeds found in food products can reduce prices received for produce (Mallee CMA 2003a). Aquatic weeds in Mallee waterways and wetlands are not currently addressed under any of the region’s pest plant action plans, and knowledge of their occurrence and distribution is limited. The Mallee CMA plans to address the knowledge gap by carrying out research into this neglected area of river health management. Priority weeds for eradication in the Mallee include Boxthorn, Bridal Creeper and Prickly Pear. Mallee controlled weeds include Spiny Burr-grass, Caltrop, Horehound and Spiny Emex. Other significant weed species occurring on the Murray River floodplain include Noogoora Burr, Sharp Rush, Dodder and Willows. Weed management under this strategy will only be undertaken in riparian and/or floodplain areas where pest plants are having a direct impact on river health.

LCC Final Recommendations (1989) allow for timber production from land designated as State Forest, which represents a total area of 38,745 ha in the floodplain forests of the FMA. Once exclusions are made under the Code of Forest Practice for Timber Production, only 14% of the State Forest is presently deemed suitable for timber harvesting, with limited extraction also occurring on the Murray River Public Purposes Reserve. These exclusions include Special Protection Zones, forest stands protected by prescription (e.g. Black Box), inaccessible areas, and other areas unsuited to production (e.g. grasslands). There are no current long-term sawlog licences in the Mildura FMA. Two commercial firewood operators currently access timber from coupes. In the absence of any new sawlog licences, access to former logging coupes for commercial firewood operators cannot be continued beyond the next few years. Future options for firewood supply (domestic or commercial) are yet to be determined. The controlled nature of commercial timber extraction means that illegal removal of timber by domestic firewood collectors and recreational campers presents the greatest threat to values. Other Threats Other threats to waterways and floodplains within the Mallee Region include soil erosion, blackwater events, bee keeping, inappropriate land use, inappropriate development, mining, and fire management. More information on these threats is presented in Section 8 of the Supporting Document.

Pest Animals Pest animals, including those declared under the Catchment and Land Protection (CaLP) Act 1994 (rabbits and foxes), and non-declared pests (feral cats, feral pigs, and feral goats), cause major damage to native vegetation and agricultural crops, and create significant soil disturbance. They also predate on indigenous fauna species found in riparian areas, including mammals, reptiles and birds. Within waterways, European Carp have become the dominant fish of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDBC). They have become a major threat to the ecology of the Murray River and its tributaries, and have been declared a noxious fish. Carp can impact waterways by undermining banks, destroying aquatic vegetation, impacting water quality (e.g. increasing turbidity), and competing with native fish species for food and habitat sites. Other pest animals present in the Mallee include feral bees, European wasps, hares, starlings, snails, rats, mice and locusts. Pest animal control under this strategy will only be undertaken where pest animals are impacting upon river health. Timber Utilisation The floodplain forests in the Mildura Forest Management Area (FMA) are dominated by River Red Gum forests and Black Box woodlands. Since the mid-1800’s, harvesting of timber from the forest has been substantial and uncontrolled; however in recent times River Red Gum remains the only species harvested for saw logs. Timber removal from floodplain forests in the Mildura FMA threatens important fauna habitat. Timber harvesting leads to loss of large hollow forming trees, loss of woody debris from the forest floor (important for habitat and nutrient cycling), and disturbance to understorey vegetation. Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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5

River Health Priorities

River Red Gum decline at Wallpolla Island

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5.1 Priority Setting Framework

5.2 RiVERS Information

Following the division of the Mallee CMA region into various biophysical management scales, a two-fold prioritisation process was undertaken in order to set geographic and five-year management action priorities for the Mallee RHS:

As described in chapter 4, the priority-setting (decision support) tool utilised in the development of the Mallee RHS was RiVERS (see Section 1, Supporting Document for information sources for RiVERS). The database is an asset and threat based approach, incorporating risk management principles, aimed at providing a consistent and transparent framework for informing regional waterway health programs. Data on the environmental, social and economic values of assets at each reach were collected and entered into the RiVERS database in order to determine high value reaches for the Mallee CMA region (see Section 4, Supporting Document for RiVERS scores and ratings by reach). Data on threats to the values of those assets were then entered into the database to facilitate the risk analysis process, allowing priorities for management action to be identified.

High Value Reaches have been identified within the Mallee CMA region, according to their environmental, social and economic value from RiVERS, ability to attain near ecological health, and their public land status (see Section 5.3). Management Action Priorities from 1 to 4 have been identified through a risk analysis process, which determines the values (of assets) that are most at risk from identified threats at the reach scale (see Section 5.4). In addition, other regional planning processes, including existing action plans and strategies, have been used to inform management aims and actions under this strategy (see Chapter 6). In accordance with the relevant investment planning process, the Mallee CMA will base annual priorities for river health management on the framework and priorities of this strategy, in addition to other factors such as: • funding opportunities; • legal and institutional requirements; • community support; • public perception; • future predictions of threats; • upstream/downstream interactions; and • new information and/or changing circumstances.

The application of a Statewide tool had a number of limitations for the Mallee region, producing results that in some cases were inconsistent with local knowledge (see Appendix 2 and Section 2, Supporting Document). For example, the approach proved inadequate in identifying the negative impacts of both recreation and water diversion infrastructure on the riparian zone and floodplain area. There were also instances where the baseline data for a number of assets and threats were unavailable to populate the database, which affected the overall score for that reach. In light of some limitations identified in the first round of regional river health strategies, the RiVERS database will be reviewed, before regional river health strategies are due for their first review. Cont’d...

This approach is based firmly on the principles of adaptive management, enabling the region to respond effectively to new regional river health challenges as they arise.

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5.3 Determining High Value Reaches Four priority areas have been identified for the classification of high value reaches. These priority river classifications have been used to determine priority reaches for the region over the next 5 years. • Priority River Classification 1 identifies high value reaches as determined by the RiVERS database under social, economic and environmental asset classes. • Priority River Classification 2 identifies reaches that attain near ecologically healthy river status. • Priority River Classification 3 identifies reaches that occur within significant areas of Crown land (e.g. National Parks) as identified from the Land Conservation Council 1989 Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations. • Priority River Classification 4 is the remainder of the reaches in the region that aim for an overall improvement in their environmental condition over the life span of the strategy.

5.3.1

Priority River Classification 1 - RiVERS High Value Environmental, Economic and Social Reaches

The RiVERS database was used to rate river reaches based on the value of known assets within the reach. The value of environmental assets was drawn from existing databases and current local and scientific knowledge. The value of social and economic assets was determined from existing reports and local knowledge provided by local agencies and community members at a number of workshops. The range of values for social, economic and environmental asset classes were scored from 1 to 5 for a range of assets (see Section 3, Supporting Document), and their total scores ranked from very low to low, moderate, high and very high. The results from the RiVERS database for all asset classes are shown in Tables 5-1, 5-2 and 5-3. Reaches that have received the same numerical score from RiVERS are to be considered to be of equal priority. River reaches identified as very high or high from the RiVERS database in any of the three asset classes have been determined as a high priority reach within this strategy. These reaches have been highlighted in each of the asset class tables and are shown in the summary of high value reaches (Table 5-6). The identification of high value environmental, social, economic reaches will ensure that the adverse impacts of each management action on social, economic and environmental values are duly considered, and that opportunities for multiple benefits and triple bottom line outcomes are fully explored. It is important to note that environmental, economic and social assets were determined independently, and that in some cases the maintenance of some social and economic assets may conflict with maintenance and enhancement of environmental assets.

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Environmental RiVERS Score Table 5-1 shows the ranking of the region’s reaches from highest to lowest according to the value of its environmental assets. 28 river reaches were determined as having high value environmental assets according to the RiVERS database; these reaches are considered high priority. Cont’d...

Management Unit

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

Environmental RiVERS Scores

Rating

M1 M2 M3 M3 M2 M2 M2 M3 M2 M2 M3 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M1 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M5 M3 M1 M2 M3 M1 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M4 M2 M3 M1 M4 M2 M3 M3 M4 M3 M3 M3 M2 M4 M4 M1 M1 M1 M1 M3

M1-2 M2-2 M3-2 M3-6 M2-3 M2-5 M2-5 M3-6 M2-3 M2-4 M3-3 M2-4 M3-1 M3-3 M3-5 M3-2 M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M1-2 M2-5 M3-3 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-3 M3-3 M5-1 M3-3 M1-3 M2-1 M3-4 M1-1 M2-2 M2-2 M2-6 M3-3 M3-3 M4-3 M2-4 M3-3 M1-1 M4-2 M2-6 M3-3 M3-3 M4-1 M3-3 M3-2 M3-3 M2-1 M4-1 M4-2 M1-3 M1-2 M1-2 M1-3 M3-3

Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Mullaroo Creek Murray River Murray River Dedmans Creek Chalka Creek Murray River Sandy Creek Murray River Murray River Finnigans Creek Potterwallkagee Creek Lindsay River Murray River Carwarp Creek Ranka Creek Lindsay River Toupnein Creek Mullaroo Creek Wallpolla Creek Wallpolla Creek Outlet Creek (Wyperfeld NP) Moorna Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Bonyaricall Creek Narcooyia Creek Towrie and Outlet Creeks Willipanance Creek Moorna Creek Yarriambiack Creek Cantala Creek Sandy Creek Parnee Malloo Lalbert Creek Inlet Creek Deep Creek Mullroo Creek Tyrrell Creek Milky Creek Thompson Creek Railway Creek Tata Creek Tyrrell Creek Lalbert Creek Bridge Creek Burra Creek Burra Creek Wakool Creek Boy Creek

1 5 13 16 7 9 10 29 6 8 43 25 11 46 15 12 45 31 27 2 19 49 26 28 30 39 40 91 53 3 4 14 25 36 37 17 51 52 24 38 47 26 22 18 41 42 23 48 44 50 20 24 21 22 23 24 21 54

52 51 51 51 50 50 50 49 48 48 48 47 47 47 47 45 45 45 45 44 44 44 44 44 44 43 43 43 42 41 41 41 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 38 38 37 37 36 36 36 36 35 34 34 32 30 30 27 26 26 26 25

high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high high mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod low low low low low

Table 5-1 Priority River Classification 1: RiVERS Environmental Score Ranking by Reach.

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Social RiVERS Score Table 5-2 shows the region’s reaches listed from highest value social assets to lowest as determined through the RiVERS database. One reach was determined as having very high value social assets, and 6 reaches rated as high. These 7 reaches are considered high priority.

Management Unit

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

Social RiVERS Scores

Rating

M2 M2 M3 M4 M2 M1 M2 M1 M2 M2 M1 M3 M1 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M2 M3 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M2 M3 M3 M4 M4 M1 M1 M1 M1 M2 M2 M3 M4 M4 M1 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M2 M2 M5 M2 M3

M2-5 M2-3 M3-1 M4-3 M2-1 M1-1 M2-4 M1-2 M2-2 M2-3 M1-3 M3-2 M1-2 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-6 M3-3 M3-3 M2-4 M3-6 M2-5 M3-6 M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M2-2 M3-3 M3-6 M4-1 M4-1 M1-2 M1-2 M1-3 M1-3 M2-1 M2-2 M3-3 M4-2 M4-2 M1-1 M2-6 M3-2 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M2-5 M2-4 M5-1 M2-6 M3-3

Murray River Murray River Murray River Yarriambiack Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Lindsay River Mullaroo Creek Wallpolla Creek Dedmans Creek Chalka Creek Mullaroo Creek Murray River Murray River Wallpolla Creek Potterwallkagee Creek Toupnein Creek Narcooyia Creek Ranka Creek Lindsay River Tyrrell Creek Tyrrell Creek Burra Creek Burra Creek Wakool Creek Bridge Creek Tata Creek Bonyaricall Creek Finnigans Creek Lalbert Creek Lalbert Creek Parnee Malloo Towrie and Outlet Creeks Thompson Creek Deep Creek Mullroo Creek Sandy Creek Sandy Creek Milky Creek Railway Creek Willipanance Creek Moorna Creek Moorna Creek Carwarp Creek Cantala Creek Outlet Creek (Wyperfeld NP) Inlet Creek Boy Creek

10 6 11 24 4 25 8 1 5 7 3 13 2 12 14 15 26 30 39 43 25 29 9 16 40 31 28 37 49 27 23 24 23 24 21 22 20 36 45 21 22 26 17 44 41 42 46 47 48 50 51 52 53 19 38 91 18 54

41 40 40 40 39 38 38 34 34 33 32 32 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 30 29 29 28 27 26 26 26 25 25 25 25 25 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 23 22 21 20 15 15

very high high high high high high high mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low v.low v.low

Table 5-2 Priority River Classification 1: RiVERS Social Score Ranking by Reach.

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Economic RiVERS Score Table 5-3 shows the region’s reaches listed from highest value economic asset to lowest as determined by the RiVERS database. Reaches rated as having very high or high value economic assets from the RiVERS database are highlighted in Table 5-3 and are considered a priority within this strategy. Cont’d...

Management Unit

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

Economic RiVERS Scores

Rating

M2 M1 M2 M2 M2 M3 M1 M2 M4 M1 M1 M2 M2 M3 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M2 M2 M3 M1 M3 M3 M4 M4 M1 M2 M3 M4 M4 M2 M3 M3 M3 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M5 M1 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M1 M1 M2 M3 M3 M3

M2-5 M1-2 M2-1 M2-3 M2-3 M3-1 M1-1 M2-5 M4-3 M1-2 M1-3 M2-2 M2-4 M3-2 M2-5 M3-2 M3-5 M3-6 M3-6 M2-2 M2-2 M3-6 M1-2 M3-3 M3-4 M4-1 M4-1 M1-1 M2-4 M3-6 M4-2 M4-2 M2-6 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M2-4 M2-6 M3-2 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-6 M5-1 M1-2 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-5 M1-3 M1-3 M2-1 M3-3 M3-3 M3-6

Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Yarriambiack Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Carwarp Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Lindsay River Bonyaricall Creek Narcooyia Creek Mullaroo Creek Burra Creek Wallpolla Creek Murray River Tyrrell Creek Tyrrell Creek Parnee Malloo Chalka Creek Mullaroo Creek Lalbert Creek Lalbert Creek Towrie and Outlet Creeks Dedmans Creek Finnigans Creek Moorna Creek Cantala Creek Inlet Creek Thompson Creek Wallpolla Creek Railway Creek Willipanance Creek Moorna Creek Lindsay River Outlet Creek (Wyperfeld NP) Burra Creek Mullroo Creek Sandy Creek Sandy Creek Milky Creek Ranka Creek Potterwallkagee Creek Wakool Creek Bridge Creek Tata Creek Deep Creek Boy Creek Toupnein Creek

10 1 4 6 7 11 25 9 24 2 3 5 8 13 19 12 15 16 26 36 37 30 23 39 14 23 24 26 25 29 21 22 17 43 45 52 38 18 44 40 50 51 53 27 91 24 42 46 47 48 49 31 21 22 20 41 54 28

22 21 21 21 21 21 20 20 20 19 19 19 19 19 18 17 16 16 15 14 14 14 13 13 13 13 13 12 12 12 12 12 11 11 11 11 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 8

very high very high very high very high very high very high High High High High High High High High High High High High Mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod mod low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low

Table 5-3 Priority River Classification 1: RiVERS Economic Score Ranking by Reach.

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5.3.2

Priority River Classification 2 - Attain near Ecologically Healthy River status

5.3.3

The Victorian River Health Strategy (VRHS) sets a vision for at least one major river reach attaining ecological health in each major river class by 2021. The VRHS defines an ecologically healthy river as a river or stream retaining its major ecological functions and features as they existed prior to European settlement, and is able to retain these features into the future. This definition allows for some change from a natural state and recognises the need to balance human use with the ecology of a river. A set of 21 criteria were developed by the State to identify reaches that achieve, or are close to achieving, ecological health (see Section 7, Supporting Document). These criteria were applied to each of the reaches in the Victorian Mallee. None of the reaches satisfied all 21 criteria specified by the State for an ecologically healthy river, which is not unexpected given the missing water quality (water quality trend, water quality attainment), fish (native fish observed/expected, exotic fish proportion) and macro invertebrate data. For the remaining 16 parameters for which adequate data were available, none of the reaches met the environmental criteria for ecologically healthy status. The reach closest to attaining ecologically healthy under this criteria in the highest number of parameters is Cantala Creek, which achieves the criteria in 12 parameters, but fails in 4 parameters - exotic fauna, flow deviation, wetland connectivity and groundwater inflow (with data missing for the remaining 5 parameters). A second, somewhat less stringent, criteria to identify ecologically healthy rivers were developed in the preparation of the Goulburn Broken RHS. This approach was used to determine reaches that attain near ecological health in the Mallee region. This approach was applied to all reaches in the Victorian Mallee and involved the selection of 9 of the 21 original criteria, where a reach meeting all 9 criteria would indicate excellent physical habitat characteristics within that reach (riparian vegetation measures, instream measures and flow deviation). Again, with all data available for the 9 parameters no reach met all criteria, even with modified parameters.

Priority River Classification 3 - Land Classification

The Mallee region differs from other CMA areas in Victoria in that a majority of creeks are intermittent, and are associated with extensive and significant floodplain areas, much of which is protected as Crown land, for example as National Parks and Murray River Public Purpose Reserve. The inclusion of public land tenure to identify high priority reaches reflects the importance of Crown land to the long-term protection of environmental and cultural values in the Mallee, and also helps to address the current limitation of the RiVERS database to reflect the values of intermittent streams and broad lowland floodplains. Priority River Classification 3 identifies reaches located within Crown land classified by the Land Conservation Council in 1989 as Murray River Public Purpose Reserve, National Parks and Reference Areas as high value reaches. This ensures all Murray River reaches are considered a priority within the strategy, which is consistent with local knowledge and community expectation. Table 5-5 shows reaches located within Crown land areas that are considered to be high value.

5.3.4

Summary of High Value Reaches

The following 34 reaches have been identified as priority reaches through Priority River Classification 1, 2 or 3. Table 5-6 shows the reaches in order of bioregion, management zone, stream name and reach number, and shows which Priority River Classifications have resulted in the reach obtaining high priority status. These reaches are all considered high priority for management and have not been ranked further for the purposes of this strategy (see Section 5, Supporting Document for all RiVERS scores by reach). It is important to note that there can be conflicting values to manage where reaches are priority for more than one asset class or classification. For example, Reach 8 is considered high value for environmental, social, economic and LCC classifications, and may require different actions and tradeoffs than those reaches identified as priorities for purely environmental values. Figure 5-1 (page 45) shows the location of high priority reaches.

As a result, it will prove difficult to improve any reaches to ecologically healthy river status in the Mallee over the life span of the Mallee RHS, and will require a number of management actions in some reaches. It is also unlikely that it will be possible to address flow deviation (changed hydrology), a major threat to Murray River reaches, adequately in the short-term, despite its focus under the Living Murray initiative. The results of the assessment of ecological health, using the Goulburn Broken CMA criteria, indicate the most suitable reaches to target for ecologically healthy river status in the Victorian Mallee are as outlined in Table 5-4.

Stream Name

Reach No.

Basin

Management Zone

Comments

Chalka Creek Cantala Creek Outlet Creek

25 38 91

Mallee Mallee Wimmera

M2-4 M2-4 M5-1

Meets 7/9 criteria, fails on longitudinal connectivity and flow deviation Meets 8/9 criteria, fails on flow deviation Meets 8/9 criteria, fails on longitudinal connectivity

Table 5-4 Near Ecologically Healthy Waterways.

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Cont’d...


Management Unit

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

LCC Land Classification

M1 M1 M1 M1 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M5

M1-1 M1-2 M1-2 M1-3 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-3 M2-4 M2-4 M2-4 M2-5 M2-5 M3-1 M3-2 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M5-1

Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Chalka Creek Cantala Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Lindsay River Lindsay River Toupnein Creek Mullaroo Creek Mullaroo Creek Outlet Creek (Wyperfeld NP)

25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 25 38 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 26 27 28 29 30 53

Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve National Park National Park Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve Murray River Public Purpose Reserve National Park National Park Reference Area National Park National Park National Park

Table 5-5 High Value Reaches According to Crown Land Status.

Bioregion

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

Priority River Classification for high priority Priority River Classification 1

RiVERS High Environmental Value

M1 M1 M1 M1 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M4 M5

M1-1 M1-2 M1-2 M1-3 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-3 M2-4 M2-4 M2-4 M2-5 M2-5 M2-5 M3-1 M3-2 M3-2 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-5 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M3-6 M4-3 M5-1

Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Murray River Chalka Creek Cantala Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Carwarp Creek Murray River Murray River Murray River Wallpolla Creek Wallpolla Creek Dedmans Creek Finnigans Creek Sandy Creek Ranka Creek Murray River Murray River Potterwallkagee Creek Murray River Lindsay River Lindsay River Toupnein Creek Mullaroo Creek Mullaroo Creek Yarriambiack Creek Outlet Creek (Wyperfeld NP)

RiVERS High Social Value

RiVERS High Economic Value

Priority River Classification 2

Priority River Classification 3

Near Ecologically Healthy

LCC High Environmental Value

25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 25 38 8 9 10 19 11 12 13 39 40 43 45 46 49 14 15 31 16 26 27 28 29 30 24 91

Table 5-6 Summary of High Value Reaches.

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5.3.5

Priority River Classification 4 - Achieving an ‘overall improvement’ in environmental condition of the remainder of the region’s waterways

The following 24 reaches are the remainder of all reaches within the Mallee region that have not been classed as high value reaches according to Priority River Classification 1, 2 or 3. This does not reflect a lack of importance with respect to social, economic or environmental values; it simply means the reach has not received an asset ranking of high or very high within the RiVERS database. Whilst the highest priority for management action will be to protect and enhance high value reaches, it is

important to ensure that the health of these remaining reaches does not decline, that they achieve an overall improvement in environmental condition, and that degradation from future management activities is minimised. The level of investment received for each reach will be partly dependent upon the level of community commitment to river health outcomes in these regions. The reaches are listed according to bioregion, management zone and then reach number, and have not been ranked further for the purposes of this strategy (see Table 5-7). Figure 5-1 (opposite) shows the general location of the reaches that did not obtain high priority status.

Bioregion

Management Zone

Stream Name

Reach No.

M1 M1 M1 M1 M1 M2 M2 M2 M2 M2 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 M4 M4 M4 M4

M1-1 M1-2 M1-2 M1-3 M1-3 M2-1 M2-2 M2-2 M2-6 M2-6 M3-2 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M3-3 M4-1 M4-1 M4-2 M4-2

Parnee Malloo Burra Creek Burra Creek Wakool Creek Bridge Creek Tata Creek Bonyaricall Creek Narcooyia Creek Towrie and Outlet Creeks Inlet Creek Thompson Creek Deep Creek Mullroo Creek Sandy Creek Milky Creek Railway Creek Willipanance Creek Moorna Creek Moorna Creek Boy Creek Tyrrell Creek Tyrrell Creek Lalbert Creek Lalbert Creek

26 23 24 21 22 20 36 37 17 18 44 41 42 47 48 50 51 52 53 54 23 24 21 22

Table 5-7 Reaches to Achieve an ‘Overall Improvement’ in Environmental Condition.

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Figure 5-1 High Priority Reaches in the Mallee CMA Region.

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5.4 Determining Management Action Priorities 5.4.1

Setting Priorities for Management Actions

Risk Assessment of Threats The main aim of the risk assessment has been to provide an objective measure of the level of risk to a particular asset (environmental, social or economic) by a particular threat. Using a risk-based approach, it was possible to determine which of the threats required immediate management action, and which management aims should be set. The level of risk was determined using the values for assets and threats identified in the RiVERS database and identifying the degree of association between an asset and threat. For example, instream barriers may pose a high risk to native migratory fish species but a low risk to significant flora species. The risk assessment was conducted on each of the 58 reaches in the region. The risk analysis has been expressed as a function of the following factors: • Likelihood - a measure of the probability that a threat will actually impact on a particular value within a reach. This consideration of the degree of association between an asset and a threat is important, because if an identified threat does not present a risk to any of the identified assets in a reach, a management action to counter it is not necessary. • Consequence - a measure of the impact a threat can have on the value of a particular asset. This is also important in determining the requirement for management response. Threats that will have the most detrimental impact will require immediate management action. These two factors have been combined to create a scoring system for the risk analysis, representing the probability that a threat will have a serious impact on the value of the asset in question.

(or management aims) required for each reach (see Table 5-8). Results of the risk analysis produced tables for each reach identifying risk to individual assets per threat, ranging from very high to low (see Section 6, Supporting Document). The risk analysis tables were utilised in the development of management aims A-E, H and I. Management aims F, G and J-M were developed to offset the limitations of the risk analysis, through lack of data and the scale of the analysis. These additional management aims have been identified through other planning processes, including existing strategies and action or management plans, such as the Murray River Frontage Action Plans (Mallee CMA 2003). The management aims for each management zone are therefore selected from the following overall list: A Improved Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity B Manage Rising Saline Groundwater and River Salinity C Reduce the Impacts of Grazing D Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms E Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals F Reduce the Impact of Current and Future Water Diversion Infrastructure G Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health H Retain Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat I Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation J Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or Adjoining Waterways K Address Knowledge Gaps L Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health M Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites Determining Management Action Priorities In order to address the risk posed by threats identified by the RiVERS database, management actions have been developed to address each management aim. For aims A-E, H and I, the RiVERS risk analysis tool was utilised as the primary means to identify and prioritise management actions as low, medium, high, or very high priority (see Table 5-8). The priority ranking of a management action determines when it will be implemented, and the amount of resources invested.

RiVERS assets scores, threats scores, and the risk analysis score were combined to determine final risk ratings. Ratings were determined for all identified assets and threats within each reach, which allowed the determination of the management response

Risk Rating

Description

Management Aim

Management Action Priority Ranking

Very High

High scores (5) for assets, threats, and risk analysis. The high level of threat is almost certain to impact on the high value. High scores (4 or 5) for all three measures. The threat is very likely to impact on a high value asset. High value asset, high threat, medium risk. Elevated chance that the high value threat may be impacted. High value asset, medium threat, high risk. The threat is likely to have a medium impact on the high value asset. High value asset, low threat, high risk. The threat is likely to have a low impact on a high value asset. Low value asset, high threat, high risk. The threat is likely to impact on a low value asset.

Urgent need to reduce threat level within this reach. Top priority for threat reduction.

1

Second priority for threat reduction within this reach. Third priority for threat reduction within this reach, or opportunistic threat reduction.

1

High Medium 1 Medium 2 Low 1 Low 2

Monitor asset for decline in this reach; do not allow an increase in threat level.

2

Do not allow an increase in threat level for this asset in this reach.

3

Assess whether the threat is the cause of low asset values and act accordingly.

4

Table 5-8 Description of Risk Rating and Subsequent Management Aim.

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2


Other priority actions have been identified and prioritised (aims F, G and J-M) from existing statutory and strategic frameworks, (refer action plans and strategies in Sections 1.2.2 and 1.2.3), in addition to expert opinion and/or local knowledge through the Mallee CMA River and Wetland Health Technical Reference Committee (TRC), Implementation Committees (IC’s) and specific agency advice. Management actions under aims J and M automatically receive a very high priority ranking as these actions address core statutory requirements for waterway and floodplain management under the Water Act 1989, and for the protection of cultural and archaeological sites under relevant State and Commonwealth legislation. Priorities assigned to actions under Aims F, G, K and L were based on local knowledge and expert opinion and involved extensive consultation with the Mallee CMA’s IC’s and River and Wetland Health TRC, as well as, reference to existing action plans, strategies, and studies, including the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy (Mallee CMA 2003a). The priorities for each management action for the 5 bioregions are shown according to management zone in action tables 6-1 to 6-10 in Chapter 6 of the Mallee RHS. The priorities for each management action within the tables have been used to determine the highest priority actions for implementation for each management zone. In some cases, the RiVERS threat description in Chapter 6 (by management zone) describes the threats to a reach as ‘moderate’, however there may be specific threats within a reach that require the management actions for this reach to be classed as priority 1, the highest priority for implementation. For example, the RiVERS threat description is ‘moderate’ for Murray River Reach 14, however all grazing management actions for this reach are assigned priority 1. This is because the environmental assets of the reach (significant flora), and the threats to the reach (stock access) scored 4-5 in the RiVERS database, indicating the presence of significant flora while stock are able to access the site. The risk analysis (see Section 6 of the Supporting Document) showed there was a Very High risk of stock accessing the site impacting the significant flora at Reach 14, therefore it received a high priority ranking for the management action.

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6

Assessment and Management Actions

Murray River at Yelta

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6.1 Key To Using This Section This Chapter outlines for each 5 bioregions, an assessment of its management zones and composite reaches, and the resulting management action priorities.

6.1.1

Management Zone Assessment

The assessment of each of the 19 Management Zones is presented in three parts:

Part 3 - Management Aims This section outlines the management aims necessary to address identified threats for each Management Zone (or group of river reaches), as identified through the risk analysis process outlined in Section 5.4. Accordingly these may differ slightly between management zones within a bioregion. For more detailed information on the key assets, threats and management aims for each reach (ie those assets (environmental, social or economic) that have a scoring of 3 or higher within RiVERS) refer to Section 12 of the Supporting document. An example is shown on the following page for Reach 11. Cont’d...

Part 1 - Description of the Management Zone This section contains a brief description of the characteristics, assets and values of the management zone and its composite reaches, such as geographic location, land use, vegetation communities, important flora and fauna and cultural sites. Part 2 - RiVERS Values and Threats This section presents the results of the RiVERS database for the reaches within each management zone, and also outlines where the reach was considered high priority in Chapter 5 according to LCC land classification or ability to attain ecologically healthy river (EHR) status. Key assets and threats identified through the RiVERS process are outlined in this section.

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M3-1 Murray River Reach:11

Risks I: Great Egret, Red Knot, Great Knot, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Black-tailed Godwit, Glossy Ibis, Caspian Tern C: Murray Hardyhead, Growling Grass Frog L: Intermediate Egret, Bush Stone-Curlew, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Unspecked Hardyhead, Little Egret Carpet Python, Blue-billed Duck, Diamond Firetail, Gull-billed Tern, Freckled Duck, Apostlebird

Flow1, groundwater1, loss of instream habitat1, loss of wetland connectivity2

Significant flora

S: Twiggy Emu Bush, Nealie, Yellow Tails

Groundwater1

Statewide EVC’s

V: Alluvial Plains Semi-arid Grassland, lake Bed Herbland, Lignum Wetland, Semi-arid Woodland D: Floodway Pond Herbland, Riverine Grassy Forest, Intermittent Swampy Woodland, Lignum Swampy Woodland, Low Chenopod Shrubland, Riverine Chenopod Shrubland, Riverine Grassy Forest, Semiarid Chenopod Woodland

Flow2, loss wetland connectivity2, groundwater1

Environmental

EX AM PL E

Significant fauna

Fish Migration

Native migratory species use reach for passage

Economic

Social

Wetland Rarity

Flow1, wetland connectivity1, groundwater1

Heritage River

Murray River LCC (1991)

Algal1, flow1, loss of instream habitat1, groundwater1, wetland connectivity2

Sites significance

Significant ecological asset under the MDBC Living Murray initiative.

Algal1, flow1, loss of instream habitat1, groundwater1, wetland connectivity2

Flagship Species

Carpet Python, River Red Gum, Murray Cod

Flow1, groundwater1, loss of instream habitat1, wetland connectivity2

European heritage

Merbein brick works, Merbein cemetery, Merbein main pumping station, Merbein main channel, (Listed under Local Planning Scheme)

Recreation

Fishing, boating, camping, passive recreation

Algal bloomsvh, groundwater1, flow2, loss of instream habitat1

Irrigation Water Supply

Lock 10 weir pool

Algal bloomsvh, groundwater1

Infrastructure

Lock 10

Tourism

Land value

Algal bloom1

Urban, Irrigation & Parkland

Threats

Groundwater, algal blooms, flow deviation, loss of instream habitat, pest plants & animals, loss of wetland connectivity, grazing, recreation

Management Aims

A B D E F G H J K L M

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Groundwatervh

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure reduce the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat guide appropriate use and new development on land adjoining the floodplain address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites


Environmental Water at Snake Lagoon, Mulcra Island, pumped into Potterwalkagee Creek as part of Emergency River Red Gum Watering held in 2004

6.1.2

Management Actions and Priorities

Management actions have been identified for each reach within the Mallee Region through RiVERS and the risk analysis process detailed in Section 5.4. The management actions have been presented in tables at the bioregion scale for ease of reference under the different management action aims (refer Tables 6-1, 3, 5, 7 and 9). Under each management aim (A to M), specific actions are listed, including the relevant management zone, reach, priority level for implementation, indicative cost for implementation and responsibility. Management action targets (MAT’s) and resource condition targets (RCT’s) have also been identified within these tables for each bioregion, and are listed according to management aim. Where more than one management aim contributes to achieving a RCT, the estimated percentage contribution of the actions under that management aim has been documented. A list of assumptions for both targets and management actions can be found in Appendix 3, and Section 9 of the Supporting Document. The management action priority is level 1 (= highest priority) down to level 4 (= lowest priority) according to the priority setting process described in section 5.4. The second table for management actions priorities, presented for each bioregion (refer Tables 6-2, 4, 6, 8 and 10), shows the highest priority actions for implementation for each management zone. Each action has a unique identification within the table, with the letter referring to the management aim, and the number referring to the action number under that aim. Actions listed in the priority 1 column are of highest priority for implementation. Actions within a column are of equal priority. It is important to note, as in Section 5.4.1, that the overall RiVERS threat rating for each reach may be listed as moderate, however there may be specific threats within a reach that require actions to be of high priority for implementation. Note: Supporting Actions A number of actions included in the management unit action tables are not the responsibility of the river health program to develop or implement, but are nonetheless important to river health in the Mallee region. They have therefore been highlighted as supporting actions, and included in the River Health Strategy. Supporting actions are listed as ‘N/A’ in the ‘indicative cost’ column, and the organisation responsible for the action has been listed in the ‘sub program/responsibility’ column. Cont’d...

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6.2 M1 Murray Fans Bioregion 6.2.1 M1-1 Nyah Vinifera Forests Management Zone Avoca Basin No. 8

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Bioregion - Murray Fans

Murray River - Reach 25

Parnee Malloo Creek - Reach 26


1

Description

3

Management Aims

M1-1 is distinct from other riverine management zones as it lies within the Avoca Basin. It contains Murray River Reach 25, the most upstream reach of the Murray in the Mallee CMA region, and adjoins the upstream reaches of the Murray under the management of the North Central CMA.

The management aims identified for M1-1 include:

M1-1 is located upstream of Wood Wood, and lies predominantly within the Nyah State Forest. The upstream portion of Reach 25 includes the Vinifera River Reserve. The riverine forests within this management unit are usually flooded in 4 out of 5 years (McKane 1992). A reduction in the frequency and duration of flooding is causing the dominance of Red Gum saplings in wetlands on the floodplain, including Green Swamp (approximately 11 ha in area). When flooded, it is covered predominantly in aquatic plants such as Floating Pondweed (Potamogeton tricarinatus) and Common Spike-rush (McKane 1992). The Parnee Malloo Creek, an anabranch of the Murray River situated within the Nyah State Forest, is approximately 18 km in length, and only flows when the river is high. During other times of the year it remains a series of small billabongs (McKane 1992).

D

A

E F G H I

The Nyah State Forest supports a number of fauna species dependent on River Red Gum habitat, including the threatened Large-footed Myotis (Myotis adversus). Other FFG Act listed aquatic species, such as Golden Perch and Murray Cray are also known to exist within the waterways of this management unit (pers. comm. S. Meredith). The Wadi Wadi people have a strong connection with the Nyah and Vinifera Forests. The area is listed on the Register of the National Estate in recognition of its Aboriginal cultural heritage significance, which includes significant cultural sites such as earthen mounds, burials and scar trees. The area is also subject to a Native Title Claim by the Wadi Wadi (VG 6011/98).

J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms (Reach 26) contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

These forests have had many uses since European settlement including grazing, rice growing, charcoal burning and forestry. The area currently experiences high visitation rates and is popular for bird watching and water related activities such as camping, fishing and picnics. A number of bus tours visit these sites, requiring good vehicle access. The Friends of Vinifera and Nyah Forests became incorporated in 1996 to promote and enhance the cultural and environmental values of the forests and to encourage community participation under their management. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

25

High

High

High

Parnee Malloo

26

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changes to flow regime, loss of wetland connectivity, bed and bank erosion, and algal blooms in the Parnee Malloo Creek at Reach 26. These threaten key assets identified for the area, which include vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, significant fauna (e.g. Great Egret, Carpet Python), high quality riparian vegetation, recreation activities, and water supply for town and irrigation use. Other key management issues identified for this area through the Nyah to Robinvale Murray River Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) and Forest Management Plan (DSE 2004) include the management of recreation pressures particularly along Murray River Reach 25; the management of drainage outfalls onto the Nyah floodplain, and the protection of cultural and archaeological sites in the Nyah State Forest. There is also a need to address knowledge gaps in the aquatic values of Parnee Malloo Creek and to determine the ecological water requirements for improved water management. Murray River Reach 25 is identified as a high value reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

53


6.2.2 M1-2 Murray River and Burra Creek Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

54

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion M1 - Murray Fans

Murray River - Reach 1, 2

Burra Creek - Reach 23, 24


1

3

Description

The Burra Creek flows out from the Murray River within Reach 1 and flows back into the Murray River within Reach 2. The floodplain area enclosed by the Murray River and Burra Creek is approximately 900 ha, and is known locally as Macreadie Island. The floodplain area downstream of Burra Creek outlet to the Wakool Junction is called the Burra Forest (McKane 1992). The area contains habitat of the Great Egret, Regent Parrot and Carpet Python (CEM et al. 2003b). The Burra Forest area has been designated by the LCC as Murray River Public Purposes Reserve and includes two billabong areas dominated by River Red Gum and Black Box woodland, which hold water during high flows from the Murray River (McKane 1992).

The management aims identified for M1-2 include: A C E F G

The Burra Creek (approximately 53 km in length) traverses freehold agricultural land, and includes 40 m of Crown Water Frontage Reserve either side of the creek for much of its length. Land adjacent to this creek has been extensively cleared and modified for agricultural purposes, which in some instances has encroached onto Public Land (McKane 1992). The vegetation along much of the creek is therefore restricted to a narrow bank of mature River Red Gums, with some areas of Eumong on the bank of the creek, and Black Box on the adjoining floodplain. The northern sections of Burra Creek (Reach 23) lie within the Burra Forest and support Black Box-chenopod woodland. The natural flow regime of the Burra Creek has been extensively modified as a result of the construction of levees, both across the creek for irrigation water storage, and adjacent to the creek for flood protection purposes (McKane 1992). Whilst the conservation value of the Burra Creek, as identified by the RiVERS database and McKane (1992), is considered lower than other reaches within the Management Unit, the strong community interest in the recent Native Cherry/Red Gum study (Sinclair 2004), as well as local landowner support for Red Gum watering in Burra Creek in 2004, highlights the important social value afforded to the creek by the community. Members of the Koolonyong-Natya Landcare Group are also actively engaged in promoting and enhancing the environmental and social values of the Burra Creek and floodplain forests of this management zone.

Management Aims

H I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

A demonstration site has also been established on the Murray River frontage within this management zone at Piangil. Setup in 2002 under the Nyah to Robinvale Murray River Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c), management of the Piangil Demonstration Site has focussed on the issues of grazing management (a large number of Crown Water Frontages (CWF) exist within this management zone), weed control and bank erosion. A major objective of the site will be to undertake regular monitoring to measure the effectiveness of management intervention. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

1

High

Moderate

Murray River

2

High

Moderate

Burra Creek

23

Low

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Burra Creek

24

Low

Low

Low

Moderate

LCC Land Classification

Threats

Very High

High

Moderate

High

High

Moderate

Near EHR

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis for the Murray River reaches include changes to flow regime, bank erosion, introduced fauna, grazing, recreation and pump sites. The key threats identified for the Burra Creek reaches include instream barriers, channel modification, flow deviation, degraded riparian vegetation, introduced fauna (foxes, rabbits, feral pigs), bed stability (Reach 24), wetland connectivity (Reach 23) and grazing. The key assets at risk include vulnerable flora (Silver Needlewood and Hooked Needlewood), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, significant fauna, and recreation activities. Other key management issues identified for this area through the Nyah to Robinvale Murray River Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) and Forest Management Plan (DSE 2004) include the management of recreation pressures, and the protection of cultural and archaeological sites in the Burra Forest. There is also a need to address further knowledge gaps identified by Sinclair (2004) into the decline of River Red Gums and the relationship with Pale Fruit Ballart (Exocarpus strictus). Other knowledge gaps to be addressed include the aquatic values of Burra Creek, flora and fauna values of the Burra Forest, and ecological water requirements for improved water management of the Burra Creek, Burra Forest and Macreadie Island. Murray River Reaches 1 and 2 are identified as high value reaches within this strategy. Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

55


6.2.3 M1-3 Murray River, Wakool and Bridge Creeks Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

56

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Fans

Murray River - Reach 3

Wakool Creek - Reach 21

Bridge Creek - Reach 22


1

Description

3

This management zone includes the Wakool River Junction, Wakool Creek (Reach 21) at Narrung, Bridge Creek (Reach 22) and Heywood Lake. Heywood Lake is a freshwater marsh of approximately 228 ha in area, which is 3 to 4 m deep when flooded. It is located within the Heywoods Lake Wildlife Reserve approximately 43 km south east of Robinvale (SKM 2003b) and is listed as a Wetland of National significance (EA 2001). A 14.5 ha historic reserve, upstream of the Wakool Junction, is known as Major Mitchell’s Lagoon, and is the historic campsite used by 19th century explorer Major Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1836. The lagoon holds water year round, and receives water from the Murray River during high flows (McKane 1992). The area is known for its flora significance; in particular, the only known occurrence of Wilga (Geijera parviflora) in Victoria is located along the sand ridge adjacent to the Lagoon (McKane 1992).

The management aims identified for M1-3 include: A C E F G H

The Murray River floodplain area downstream of the Wakool Junction contains numerous floodplain wetlands dominated by River Red Gums. There are some grazing licences issued for the State Forest within this management zone, and recreational use of this area has resulted in a large number of access tracks on the floodplain. Bridge Creek occurs within this area, which only flows in times of high river (McKane 1992). Both Bridge Creek (7 km) and Wakool Creek (5 km) pass through areas of private land, and provide opportunities to involve the community in flow management. Salt scalds are also evident on the floodplain in the upstream reaches of this management zone. The Black Box-Lignum country around Bridge Creek, in particular, is in poor health, which may be a result of rising groundwater.

I J K L M

Reach 3 of this management zone has been identified as a special management zone for the protection of Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei) (CEM 2003b, DSE 2004) under the Forest Management Plan for the floodplain State forests of the Mildura Forest Management Area (DSE 2004). 2

Management Aims

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

3

Moderate

Moderate

High

Wakool Creek

21

Low

Low

Low

Moderate

Bridge Creek

22

Low

Low

Low

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changes to the flow regime, degraded riparian and floodplain vegetation, recreation, introduced fauna, and bed stability (Reach 22). Key assets at risk include vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, significant fauna (Carpet Python, Square-tailed kite, Brown Treecreeper), important wetlands, a rare wetland type at Wakool Creek and recreation activities. Other management issues identified in the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) comprise impacts from grazing and water diversion infrastructure. Murray River Reach 3 is identified as a high value reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

57


6.2.4 Management Actions for the M1 Murray Fans Bioregion Aim A - Improved Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity 5-Year Management Action Targets (MAT’s) 10-Year Resource Condition Targets (RCT’s)

• 3 waterways with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes (Murray River, Burra Creek and Parnee Malloo Creek) • 1 waterway with improvements made to the environmental flow regime (Murray River) • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 2 high value reaches (Murray River reaches)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1

$140,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1

$450,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1

$950,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1

$200,000

1

$10,000

Mgt Zone

1 Undertake a scoping study and subsequent detailed investigation to identify ecological and flow objectives for the Murray Fans Bioregion (including Nyah and Vinifera Forest, Burra Creek and Burra Forest, Wakool Creek) and water management options available to meet these objectives. 2 Undertake watering of the Nyah State Forest, Parnee Malloo Creek, Burra Creek, Burra Forest and other stressed anabranches, effluents and wetlands under the Murray Environmental Water Allocation (EWA), to enhance Red Gum health (in addition to other vegetation communities) and wetland connectivity, utilising community infrastructure where possible to deliver flows. 3 Implement action 25 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan to use environmental water reservs to enhance degraded floodplain areas. Structural water management options may include pumps, siphons or regulators. 4 Under the MDBC Living Murray initiative and the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future work in cooperation with MDBC, DSE and other stakeholders to improve the frequency and duration of flows to the Nyah and Vinifera Forests, Parnee Malloo Creek, Burra Creek, Burra Forest, Bridge Creek and Wakool Creek to meet specific ecological objectives. 5 Establish a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of improved water management against ecological and flow objectives in accordance with adaptive management principles. 6 In conjunction with rural water authorities, develop improved processes for donated water delivery, including identification of opportunities to use existing or planned water diversion infrastructure or water delivery.

Reach

1

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee CMA Environmental Water Reserve Management Program • Murray River Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) Program -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, MDBC, MDFRC, Parks Victoria, G-MW, NSW authorities

Aim B - Manage Rising Saline Groundwater and River Salinity 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

Regional salt interception works to reduce river salinity by 2.7 EC units by 2005. No net increases in river salinity resulting from water trade. Average irrigation drainage volumes maintained at or below a maximum of one ML per ha per year by 2020. River salinity at Morgan maintained at less than 800 EC 95% of time (SKM 2005). Monitoring of mean monthly salinity levels at Wakool Junction to be less than 217 uS/cm (SKM 2005)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP); to reduce saline groundwater accessions to the Murray River and floodplain salt storage. This includes actions to: • Investigate opportunities to upgrade water delivery infrastructure • Investigate the potential for water reuse • Investigate sustainability limits for water use efficiency • Investigate next-generation application efficiency technologies • Provide extension and education services to develop skills in water use efficiency • Provide incentives for improvements in water use efficiency and the adoption of on-farm works • Investigate the interactions between regional hydrogeology and the hydrology of the Murray River • Develop a strategic plan for investing in salt interception works • Investigate salt processes on the floodplain and quantify floodplain salt storage For a complete list of relevant actions for managing groundwater and addressing river salinity - refer Sections 8 to 11 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e).

Table 6-1

58

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

2 2 3

Refer draft VSWQMP for detailed 5- year indicative costs

Mallee CMA Water Resources and River and Wetland Health Programs -------------------Mallee CMA, MDBC, DPI, DSE, Private landholders


Aim C - Reduce the Impacts of Grazing 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • •

300 ha of riparian or floodplain land under management agreements 30 km of riparian land (ISC reaches) fenced to reduce stock impacts 1 demonstration site maintained and actively monitored 10 km of river (ISC reach), (200 hectares of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim C management actions to contribute 35% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 7-10 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) and actions under section 5.3 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to reduce total grazing pressures through a combination of targeted and incentives based measures that include fencing, exclusion plots, off-stream watering points, weed and pest animal control and improved monitoring systems. 2 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program (FMGP) to assist Crown Water Frontage Licence holders adopt riparian best management practice. 3 Identify and map areas where grazing still occurs, to identify areas to target for protection.

Mgt Zone

Reach

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1,2

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1,2

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

3 1 3

$180,000

3 1 3 3 1 3

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project ------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence Holders

Aim D - Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Sediment and nutrient input to the river decreased by diverting drainage water off the floodplain, treating stormwater outfalls, and through improved riparian management and protection. • Flow velocities maintained above 0.8m/s during algae risk period. • SEPP water quality sites and targets established by 2007 to monitor both water quality in Murray River anabranches and attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives. • Mean annual Total Nitrogen concentrations at (Colignan, Lock 9) to be less than or equal to 0.75mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.75mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual Total Phosphorus concentrations at (Euston) to be less than or equal to 0.1mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.1mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual turbidity values at (Wakool Junction) to be less than or equal to 100 NTU (SKM 2005). • Mean annual NOx concentrations at (Euston) to be less than or equal to 0.04mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.04mg/l (SKM 2005).

Actions

1 Implement actions 36-37 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) to reduce sedimentation and nutrient inputs to Parnee Malloo Creek, Burra Creek and the Murray River. 2 Investigate opportunities to redirect or treat urban stormwater and to improve management of drainage on the floodplain (i.e. explore opportunities to divert drainage away from the floodplain), in accordance with the priority principles for the Swan Hill Drainage Catchment under the Loddon Murray Surface Water Management Strategy and priority actions of the Stormwater Management Plan for Nyah, Robinvale and Swan Hill. 3 Implement other priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP); to reduce nutrients and sediment loads and other pollutants to the Murray River and its anabranches. This includes actions to: • Investigate point sources of river contamination • Investigate sources, transformation and movement of contaminants from irrigation • Investigate opportunities to target reductions in oxidised nitrogen • Provide extension and education programs aimed at fertiliser application • Provide training in fertiliser best management practice • Build awareness and provide community education about water quality • Develop a robust and comprehensive water quality database For a complete list of relevant actions for managing water quality - refer Sections 5 to 6 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e).

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2

26(Avoca)

2

$450,000

M1-1

26(Avoca)

2

M1-1 M1-2

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project • Loddon Murray Surface Water Management Strategy • Swan Hill Stormwater Management Plan -------------------SHRCC, Mallee CMA, DSE, Parks Victoria, G-MW, NCCMA, EPA

Table 6-1

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

59


6.2.4 Management Actions for the M1 Murray Fans Bioregion Cont’d... Aim E - Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 10 km of river (150 ha of floodplain) subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control • 10 km of river (ISC reach), (200 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim E management actions to contribute 20% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 31, 32 and 34 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) and actions under Section 6.2 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to contain and reduce the impacts of pest animals and weeds on riparian and floodplain areas (includes targeted and incentive-based control works). 2 Coordinate long term weed control programs for Mallee priority weeds and controlled weeds in frontages under the Mallee Weed Action Plan (2001). 3 Coordinate long term control programs for rabbits under the Rabbit Management Action Plan (2000). 4 Develop action plans to contain and reduce feral pig and fox populations in the Burra Creek management zone. 5 Determine priority aquatic pest plants and animals, including invasive and problem native plants. 6 Implement priority aquatic pest plant and animal control works.

Mgt Zone

Reach

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1,2

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-2 M1-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$90,000

2 1,2

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence holders, MDBC, NSW authorities

1,2

2

23,24

2

N/A

2

$5,000

DPI, Mallee CMA

2

To be determined in response to Action E5

DPI, Mallee CMA

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

DPI

Aim F - Reduce The Impact Of Current And Future Water Diversion Infrastructure 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • •

50% of disused pumpsites removed All appropriate areas identified for future pumpsite locations 50% of existing and 100% of new pumpsites comply with relevant guidelines 10 km of river (ISC reach), (200 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim F management actions to contribute 10% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 13 to 17 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) to reduce the impacts of water diversion infrastructure via removal of unused or abandoned pumps, improved siting of new pumps and restoration of degraded or poorly maintained pump sites (i.e. rationalisation of unnecessary tracks, erosion control, bank stabilisation, revegetation and rubbish removal)

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

25 1,2 3

3

$210,000

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project, • New Irrigation Development Guidelines -------------------Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, LMW, SHRCC, Licensees

Aim G - Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 30 km of river (250 ha) subjected to improved recreation management • 5 education materials/media products developed and distributed to community members to increase community awareness of negative recreational impacts to river health • 10 km of river (ISC reach), (200 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim G management actions to contribute 15% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 1 to 6 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) and action 25 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy, to manage the impact of recreation on riparian and floodplain areas via track rationalisation and wet weather road closures, separation of conflicting uses, improved education and awareness, greater enforcement, rubbish removal, expansion of River Watch and development and implementation of riverine protection plans for high use areas. 2 Implement actions under the Draft Murray River Parklands Strategic Recreation Plan to manage the impacts of recreation in high use areas of the floodplain. 3 Implement priority actions under sections 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 under the Forest Management Plan (2004) as they apply to the Nyah State Forest to manage recreational pressures to the forest.

Table 6-1

60

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

25(Avoca) 1,2 3

2

$190,000

M1-1

25(Avoca)

2

M1-1

25

2

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project, • River Watch -------------------Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, NSW authorities, Local Government, Water Authorities, Police, CFA


Aim H - Retain Riparian Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

2 km (50 ha) of work undertaken to protect high value riparian habitat and floodplain 1 km of works undertaken to protect and reinstate high value in-stream habitat Barriers to fish passage addressed (MAT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) 1 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated An increase (or no net decrease) in size, range and number of populations of 2 rare or threatened aquatic, riparian and floodplain species (Regent Parrot and Carpet Python) • Increase in river length made accessible to native fish (RCT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) • 1 reach with aquatic life sub-index score of 9 (as measured by ISC) maintained or protected

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 18 to 22 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) to protect the Red Gum woodland of the Nyah and Vinifera and Burra Forests and to protect riparian and in-stream habitat of the Murray River, Parnee Malloo and Burra Creeks. 2 Implement action 22 of the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy to protect and repair key components of the in-stream habitat of Parnee Malloo Creek and Murray River Reach 25. 3 Implement priority actions identified within the Robinvale-Nyah Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan to protect high value flora and fauna habitat. 4 Implement Section 3.3 and 3.4 of the Forest Management Plan to manage the habitat of Carpet Python and other threatened flora and fauna in this management zone in accordance with respective Action Statements, conservation guidelines, relevant legislation and policies. 5 Complete the regional survey of barriers to fish passage and implement key recommendations (i.e. removal or modification of barriers) at priority reaches. 6 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions. 7 Investigate opportunities to protect endangered EVC classes.

Reach

M1-1 M1-2

M1-1

25(Avoca) 26(Avoca)

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$110,000

2

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

2

$115,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

2

To be determined

2

$65,000

2

$30,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE/DPI, Mallee CMA, NSW authorities

2

Aim I - Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• Works undertaken to enhance 7 km (500 ha) of degraded riparian habitat and floodplain and remove one measure of ISC condition • 10 km of river (ISC reach), (200 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim I management actions to contribute 20% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 23 - 24 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) to restore riparian and floodplain degradation caused by weeds, scalding and erosion. 2 Implement actions 2 - 3 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to identify and prioritise existing erosion sites along the Murray and implement appropriate erosion stabilisation works. 3 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions. 4 Implement action 27 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan to undertake further investigations of the impact of Native Cherry and/or other causes of River Red Gum decline in the Piangil and Nyah Forest area, as per the recommendations of the Native Cherry investigation (Sinclair 2004).

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2

26(Avoca) 23,24 21,22 26(Avoca) 23,24 21,22 26(Avoca) 23,24 21,22 25(Avoca)

3

$220,000

3

3

3

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, MDBC, MDFRC

$90,000

Table 6-1

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

61


6.2.4 Management Actions for the M1 Murray Fans Bioregion Cont’d... Aim J - Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or adjoining Waterways 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Best management practice/ development guidelines and planning provisions for the Murray River reviewed and updated • Priority actions implemented to reduce the risk and damage of floods in accordance with the Mallee Floodplain Strategy (Mallee CMA 2001) • New development and use of land within or adjacent to wetlands and waterways compatible with surrounding scenic, cultural and environmental riparian values • No net increase in flood risk and cost of damage from floods

Actions

1 Implement action 27 of the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy to address the impacts of rural drainage for new irrigation developments. 2 Review the Swan Hill Planning Scheme; and support the ongoing use and review of best management practice guidelines to guide appropriate use and development of the land within the floodplain or adjoining waterways of the Murray Fans Bioregion. 3 In conjunction with the North Central CMA, implement priority actions under the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy (2001) to protect the values of the Murray Fans Bioregion (including the Nyah, Vinifera and Tyntynder floodplains) and reduce the impacts of floods to life, safety and property.

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

26(Avoca) 23,24 21,22 25,26

1

To be determined

1

$35,000

SHRCC, Mallee CMA

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

25,26

1

$220,000

SHRCC, Mallee CMA, NCCMA, SES

G-MW, LMW, Mallee CMA, SHRCC

Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 6 priority studies and plans (ecological investigations, research, surveys and monitoring programs) undertaken to improve information on baseline conditions and to review and revise management actions and targets • Improved knowledge and baseline information on river health (condition, values and threats) to inform development and/or refinement of priority management responses and corresponding resource condition targets

Actions

1 In conjunction with North Central CMA, DSE, and the MDBC, acquire a Digital Elevation Model of the Murray Fans Bioregion (Management Unit) to better understand flood behaviour and water movement in this area. 2 Facilitate appropriate research projects, such as the key recommendations of the study of River Red Gum Decline in the Nyah - Piangil Area (Sinclair 2004). 3 Utilise the outcomes of monitoring programs, new survey and research findings, and revisions to Government policy, to review and revise management actions for this bioregion. 4 Include Parnee Malloo Creek in a regional assessment of barriers to fish passage in the Mallee CMA region. 5 Undertake targeted surveys of fish species, other aquatic vertebrates, and macro and micro invertebrates (across various age classes), to address knowledge gaps and assist with future priority setting; and to benchmark responsiveness to river management activities. 6 Trial the use of a fish diary for informing aquatic surveys. 7 Acquire data or undertake investigations to determine the conservation status of data deficient EVC’s. 8 Undertake a survey of the distribution and status of Growling Grass Frog in the Mallee region. 9 Complete the development of a Wetland Prioritisation study and Regional Wetland Strategy to guide investment and management of wetlands within the Murray Fans Bioregion. 10 Develop a condition-assessment program for priority wetlands in Murray Fans Bioregion using the Index of Wetland Condition (IWC), a rapid assessment tool under development by DSE. Incorporate this assessment into the Mallee Regional Catchment Condition report. 11 Develop riverine protection plans for FAP targeted work sites at priority reaches. Includes comprehensive flora and fauna surveys of the Murray Fans bioregion, including survey of floodplain and instream coarse woody debris. 12 Investigate opportunities to fill current data gaps within the RiVERS database, including survey. 13 Investigate the impacts of unregulated firewood collection on floodplain habitat availability and use.

Table 6-1

62

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1

25

2

$90,000

25

2

$120,000

2

$20,000

3

$5,000

3

$45,000

3 4

$20,000 $20,000

3

$20,000

1

$15,000

2

$45,000

M1-1 M1-2

2

$165,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

2

$25,000

2

$40,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

26(Avoca)

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Environmental Flows Program • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, MDFRC, DSE, NSW authorities, MDBC, Parks Victoria


Aim L - Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health • 7 community/ school groups actively involved in Waterwatch community monitoring and/or river health management activities. • 5 community events to improve community awareness of river health issues • Increase unprompted community awareness of river health issues from 27% (Quantum 2002) to 35%

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

1 Through the Mallee Waterwatch Program, the Frontage Action Plan Education and Awareness Program and Friends of Nyah Vinifera Forests, implement river health awareness and education activities and develop related materials and media for local community groups, schools and visitors to the Nyah Vinifera Forests area. 2 Utilise the Frontage Action Plan - Piangil Demonstration Site to encourage the adoption of best riparian management practice with Crown frontage licence holders.

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

25(Avoca)

2

$250,000

M1-2

1

2

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Waterwatch Program, • Frontage Action Plan Education and Awareness Program -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, Parks Victoria

Aim M - Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites • Works undertaken to protect and manage 8 cultural heritage sites through fencing and erosion control works. • 1 set of education materials developed and distributed to community members to promote awareness of cultural heritage values on floodplain and riparian areas. • 8 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites on the floodplain protected and managed.

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

1

$150,000

M1-1 M1-2 M1-3

2

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 28 to 30 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) and actions under Chapter 8 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to protect endangered sites, manage degraded sites and implement cultural heritage awareness activities, including a program for promoting community awareness of the heritage value and cultural significance of the Nyah-Vinifera and Burra Forests. 2 Involving all regulatory bodies, develop protocols for consultation and engagement with indigenous groups regarding site assessments and protection.

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, NWRACH, Parks Victoria

Table 6-1

6.2.5 Management Actions Priorities for the M1 Murray Fans Bioregion Priority of action within management zone Management Zone

1

2

3

4

M1-1

A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, J1, J2, J3, K9, M1, M2

B1, D1, D2, D3, E1, E2, E5, E6, G1, G2, G3, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K1, K2, K3, K5, K10, K11, K12, K13, L1

C1, C2, C3, F1, I1, I2, I3, I4, K4, K5, K6, K8

K7

M1-2

A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, C1, C2, C3, J1, J2, J3, K9, M1, M2

B1, D1, D3, E1, E2, E3, E5, E6, G1, H1, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K1, K2, K3, K5, K10, K11, K12, K13, L1, L2

F1, I1, 12, I3, I4, K5, K6, K8

K7

M1-3

A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, J1, J2, J3, K9, M1, M2

E1, E2, E4, E5, E6, G1, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K1, K3, K5, K10, K12, K13, L1

B1, C1, C2, C3, F1, G1, I1, 12, I3, K5, K6, K8

K7

Table 6-2

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

63


6.3 M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion 6.3.1 M2-1 Boundary Bend Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

64

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Murray River - Reach 4

Tata Creek - Reach 20


1

Description

3

This management zone includes the Murrumbidgee Junction and a number of significant river bends, including Boundary Bend, Pile Bend and Beggs Bend. The majority of the values and threats in this management zone are associated with the River Murray.

The management aims identified for M2-1 include: A

The 200 ha of floodplain at Boundary Bend is classified as Murray River Public Purposes Reserve and is predominantly River Red Gum forest with areas of Black Box-chenopod woodland. The Red Gums throughout Boundary Bend are of varying age classes with signs of recent regeneration (McKane 1992).

C D E

The floodplain area downstream of Boundary Bend is Pile Bend, which covers 665 ha of State Forest. In this area Tata Creek (Reach 20) supplies water to a series of billabongs during high flows in the Murray River. Vegetation along Tata Creek is comprised mostly of Black Box-chenopod woodland at the top of steeply inclined banks.

F G

Beggs Bend, southeast of Robinvale, covers 265 ha of State Forest. It contains one major wetland, Margooya Lagoon, covering 31 ha. The lagoon receives drainage water at the southern end, which has resulted in increased average salinity in the lagoon (McKane 1992). Vegetation at Beggs Bend comprises River Red Gum, Black Box-chenopod woodland, and a small patch of mallee vegetation.

H

Significant species known to occur in this management zone include the Great Egret (Ardea alba), Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus), Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei) (CEM 2003b; VWMF 2004).

J

Grazing ceased within Boundary Bend in 1985, allowing the regeneration of many flora species (McKane 1992). Rabbit control programs exist to protect these sites from degradation, and weed control programs have also been focussed in this area to control boxthorn and cactus. Recreation also has a high impact within this management zone through rubbish dumping and removal of woody debris. 2

Management Aims

I

K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

4

Moderate

High

Very High

Tata Creek

20

Moderate

Low

Low

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changes to flow regime, algal blooms, loss of instream habitat, pest plants and animals, recreation and irrigation development. Management issues identified in the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) and the Robinvale-Nyah Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan (CEM 2003b) include degradation of riparian vegetation, impacts from grazing, and management of important cultural sites. Key assets identified for this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Hoary Scurf-pea, Spotted Emu-bush), significant fauna (e.g. White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Red Kangaroo), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, a rare type of wetland (billabongs), and recreation. Murray River Reach 4 is identified as a high value reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

65


6.3.2 M2-2 Belsar Island Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

66

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Murray River - Reach 5

Bonyaricall Creek - Reach 36

Narcooyia Creek - Reach 37


1

Description

3

Belsar Island is approximately 2,500 ha of State Forest bounded by the Murray River (Reach 5), and Narcooyia Creek (Reach 37), an anabranch of the Murray. The River Red Gums and wetlands of this management zone are fed by flood waters from the Murray River and undergo periodic dry phases (McNee 1996). During these dry periods, Spiny Mud Grass covering the bed of the billabongs serves as a source of fodder (McKane 1992). Logging of the River Red Gum forest has occurred in the past, and these areas are now undergoing dense regeneration. Vegetation not located within a short distance of the Murray River is predominantly Black Box-chenopod woodland.

The management aims identified for M2-2 include: A C E F

Narcooyia Creek (17 km) connects to the Murray River through State Forest at Yungera. A number of private diverters are licensed to divert water from Narcooyia Creek. A weir was constructed at its western end in 1980 to maintain water levels for irrigation supply, which is pumped from the Murray River (McKane 1992, McNee 1996). As a result of this, the creek now holds water for longer periods of time than under natural conditions. Bonyaricall Creek (6 km) is also used for irrigation water supply, which is influenced by the Lock 15 Weir Pool. Recent studies undertaken on the future management of Narcooyia Creek have identified the presence of significant fish species including Murray Cod and Freshwater Hardyhead (SKM 2004g). This management unit comprises a number of significant ecological values, including the threatened Moira Grass plain community, habitat for Carpet Python and Regent Parrot, and wetland habitat for restricted breeding colonies of the Great Egret and Australian Pelican (McNee 1996). Belsar Island is also listed as a wetland of national significance (EA 2001).

Management Aims

G H I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

In addition to management of the irrigation supply pressures on Narcooyia Creek, another major management issue is the impact of grazing and high recreational use in the area, leading to degradation of riparian and floodplain vegetation (McNee 1996). An Aboriginal burial site, located on the western sand ridges of Belsar Island, once supported Pine-Belah woodlands, but now contains only a few trees due to overgrazing. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

5

High

Moderate

High

Bonyaricall Creek

36

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Narcooyia Creek

37

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate

The key threats identified in the risk analysis for this management zone along the Murray River reach include changes to flow regime, bank erosion, loss of in-stream habitat, recreation and irrigation development. Key threats identified for Bonyaricall and Narcooyia Creeks include changes to flow regime, bank erosion, introduced fauna (foxes, feral pigs, rabbits and feral cats), barriers to fish passage, grazing and irrigation development. Management issues identified in the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) and the Robinvale-Nyah Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan (CEM 2003b) include management of grazing impacts, important cultural sites, and degradation of riparian vegetation. Key assets under threat in this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Umbrella Wattle, Spreading Emu-bush) and fauna (e.g. Regent Parrot, Carpet Python), vulnerable vegetation communities, rare wetland types, and irrigation water supply. Murray River Reach 5 is identified as a high priority reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

67


6.3.3 M2-3 Bumbang Island Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

68

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Murray River - Reach 6, 7


1

Description

3

Reaches 6 and 7 comprise the section of the Murray River immediately upstream and downstream of the Robinvale Township. This section of the River includes Lock and Weir 15, which influences water levels of the river and upstream anabranches. Wetlands upstream of Lock 15 are likely to be inundated for longer periods than would naturally occur, whereas downstream of the lock wetlands have experienced a decline in the frequency and magnitude of inundation. The floodplain comprises mainly Black Box-chenopod woodland and River Red Gum forest. Wetland vegetation generally contains a scattered Black Box or River Red Gum overstorey, with a diverse, yet declining understorey.

The management aims identified for M2-3 include: A B D E

The Robinvale irrigation district has 6 major drainage systems that outfall to the Murray River in this management zone. These drainage systems create a number of management issues. Around the Robinvale Township, urban stormwater and tile drainage disposal onto the floodplain has lead to increased nutrient loads and risk of algal blooms. Saline drainage disposal has degraded the floodplain environment of Gasden’s, Walshe’s and Knight’s Bends, with salt-tolerant reed-bed vegetation replacing existing floodplain vegetation (Bluml 1992). Values of the Murray River frontage have been impacted by the large number of irrigation supply pumps installed to support both new and existing irrigation development along Reach 6, and large gullies of erosion have been created by several small outfall pipes. A number of significant cultural heritage sites occur within this management zone. Bumbang Island is particularly significant, and has been reserved as a historic cultural reserve (LCC 1989). It contains a number of significant cultural and archaeological sites, including a number of canoe (scar) trees. Currently there is no vehicle access to the island.

Management Aims

F G H J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

There is also significant recreation pressure within this management zone from houseboats and boating, and feral pigs have been identified as a management issue at Gadsen’s Bend area. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

LCC Land Classification

Threats

Murray River

6

High

High

Very High

High

Moderate

Murray River

7

High

Moderate

Very High

High

Moderate

Near EHR

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changes to the flow regime, algal blooms, introduced fauna, loss of in-stream habitat, groundwater and salinity (Reach 7), drainage impacts, recreation and pumpsites. Management issues identified in the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003c) and the Robinvale-Nyah Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan (CEM 2003b) include protection of high value flora and fauna habitat, and management of important cultural sites. Key assets identified as being at risk in this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Woolly Scurf-pea) and fauna (e.g. Glossy Ibis, Regent Parrot), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, significant wetlands (Bumbang Island), recreation activities, and irrigation water supply. Murray River Reaches 6 and 7 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

69


6.3.4 M2-4 Hattah Lakes Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

70

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Murray River - Reach 8

Chalka Creek - Reach 25

Cantala Creek - Reach 38


1

Description

3

This includes the stretch of the Murray from Wemen to Colignan and includes Chalka and Cantala Creeks and the Hattah Lakes. The M2-4 management zone lies just above the influence of Lock 11, which includes a free flowing section of the Murray River.

The management aims identified for M2-4 include: A

The Hattah Lakes is a large floodplain wetland complex consisting mainly of large, shallow lakes, anabranches and temporary swamps. The floodplain vegetation comprises River Red Gum and Black Box woodland (McNee 1996). Hydrologically, the lake system varies widely from ephemeral to semi-permanent lakes, creating a variety of aquatic habitats. Flooding frequency in the lakes is determined by flows in Chalka Creek, an anabranch of the Murray River. Flow modelling suggests that the incidence of flooding in the Hattah Lakes system has almost halved under regulated conditions, and that flood retention time has decreased (McNee 1996). Despite this decline, the lakes have the capacity to hold water for several years, and are an important drought refuge. The lakes are of high value for flora and fauna and support more than 47 species of waterbirds, including species of international and national significance. The Hattah Lakes are listed under the Ramsar convention and are on the Register of the National Estate. The lakes support a number of threatened fauna species, including White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), Flat-headed Galaxias (Galaxias rostratus), and threatened flora including Prickly Bottlebrush (Callistemon brachyandrus) and Garland Lily (Calstemma purpureum) (McNee 1996). The Hattah Lakes and Chalka and Cantala Creeks are contained within the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and Murray Kulkyne Regional Parks. These parks have been classified as a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO "Man and Biosphere" Program in recognition of their value in demonstrating the interaction between people, including Aboriginal and European occupation, and the natural environment.

Management Aims

C D E F G H I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impact of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

Chalka and Cantala Creeks are target reaches for ecological health. They have been identified as two of the reaches closest to satisfying the criteria for ecological health, and Chalka Creek has been designated a reference area (LCC 1989). Actions for this management zone include targeting those criteria in which Chalka and Cantala Creeks failed to attain ecological health.

2

RiVERS Values and Threats Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

8

High

High

High

Chalka Creek

25

High

Moderate

Moderate

Cantala Creek

38

Moderate

Low

Low

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate

Yes

High

Moderate

Yes

High

Low

Near EHR

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis for the Murray River reach include changes to flow regime, algal blooms, introduced fauna, loss of instream habitat, stock access, recreation and irrigation development. The key threats identified for Chalka and Cantala Creeks include groundwater, introduced fauna, wetland connectivity, channel modification (Reach 25), algal blooms (Reach 25), and recreation. Management issues identified in the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003d) include degradation of riparian vegetation, and management of important cultural sites. Key assets under threat in this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Yellow Swainson-pea, Silky Glycine) and fauna (e.g. Great Egret), vulnerable vegetation communities, sites of significance (Hattah Lakes, Tarpaulin Island and Chalka Creek), significant and rare wetlands (Hattah Lakes Reach 25), recreation, irrigation water supply, and a listed landscape (Hattah-Kulkyne National Park). Reaches 8, 25 and 38 are identified as high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

71


6.3.5 M2-5 Colignan - Mildura Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

72

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Murray River - Reach 9, 10

Carwarp Creek - Reach 19


1

Description

3

Water levels within this management zone are affected by the Lock 11 weir pool upstream to Karadoc. This reach includes Mildura and Red Cliffs, and includes a series of wetlands of national significance (EA 2001), including Bullock Swamp and Kings Billabong. Kings Billabong is used to hold irrigation water for supply to the FMIT irrigation district, and is also an important conservation area. The expansion of irrigation within this management zone is placing pressure on river frontage, due to the high incidence of pump sites, particularly in the vicinity of Karadoc.

The management aims identified for M2-5 include: A B D

The Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve (2140 ha) contains a number of wetlands, and supports 26 plant species and 27 animal species that are considered rare or threatened (Bluml 1992). Black Box-chenopod woodland is prevalent throughout most of the floodplain, and is particularly degraded in the southern end of the Reserve due to salinity.

E F G

Carwarp Creek (Reach 19) is an anabranch of the Murray River approximately 1 km downstream of Nangiloc. Carwarp Creek extends 1 km across the floodplain and connects Bullock Swamp to the Murray River. Since irrigation development, the Carwarp Creek has been used as irrigation water supply storage. The head of water maintained in the creek has prevented groundwater discharge, and consequently, the vegetation along the banks remains in good condition. To reduce the risk of Carwarp Creek becoming salinised, a levee bank has been constructed to separate Carwarp Creek from Bullock Swamp. Bullock Swamp covers an area of approximately 340 ha and has been severely degraded. The original Black Box and Lignum vegetation is being replaced by saltmarsh vegetation. Salinity threatens the wetland due to rising groundwater, drainage disposal and altered flooding regimes. A number of saline scalds are evident on the floodplain within this management zone. Lake Iraak is a circular terminal lake, which fills when Bullock Swamp overflows. The bed of the lake no longer supports the original herbaceous cover due to a lack of flooding, and stands of reeds now grow on the salted surface. Black Box-Lignum woodland is present on the encircling lunette. Psyche Bend Lagoon south of Kings Billabong is degraded resulting from its use for saline drainage disposal.

Management Aims

H I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

There is high recreational pressure within this management zone, particularly in Reach 9, which contains a number of large sand bars. The area also includes urban parkland near Mildura such as the Ornamental Lakes, Rowing Club, and native gardens adjacent to Lock Island, which have a very high social value. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

9

High

Moderate

Murray River

10

High

Very High

Carwarp Creek

19

High

Low

Low

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

High

Moderate

Very High

High

High

Near EHR

High

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis for the Murray River reaches include changes to flow regime, rising groundwater, algal blooms, degraded riparian vegetation, loss of in-stream habitat, wetland connectivity (Reach 10), recreation and irrigation development. The key threats identified for Carwarp Creek includes changes to flow regime, in-stream barriers, channel modification, groundwater, algal blooms, introduced fauna, wetland connectivity, and irrigation development. Other key management issues identified for this area through the Robinvale to Merbein Murray River Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003d) include the impact of water diversion infrastructure from expanding new irrigation development and pest plant and animal management. Key assets at risk include significant flora (e.g. Low Hibiscus, Silky Umbrella Grass) and fauna (e.g. Growling Grass Frog, Broad-shelled Tortoise), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, fish populations with a high proportion of native fish species, significant and rare wetlands, recreation, and irrigation water supply. Reaches 9, 10 and 19 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

73


6.3.6 M2-6 Karadoc Swamp Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

74

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Robinvale Plains

Outlet and Towerie Creeks - Reach 17

Inlet Creek - Reach 18


1

Description

3

Karadoc Swamp covers 1,400 ha of private land to the south east of Red Cliffs. It is connected to the Murray River by flows though Inlet Creek at its south-east boundary, and Outlet Creek to the north (Predebon 1990). It contains the best of only two remaining stands of Swamp She-oak (Casaurina obesa) in Victoria (SKM 2003b). The swamp is fringed by a lunette on the eastern margin, which contains an aboriginal burial site. Inlet creek (Reach 18) measures 6.6 km in length. Outlet Creek and Towrie Creek together comprise Reach 17 and have a combined length of 17 km. The riparian Black Box vegetation of these creeks and on the lunette is relatively intact (SKM 2003b). Karadoc Swamp is severely degraded and threatened by increased salinity due to rises in saline groundwater, drainage disposal at two sites, and altered flooding regimes (SKM 2003). Salt is also visible within the beds of creeks within this management zone.

The management aims identified for M2-6 include: A B C D E G

Originally, Karadoc Swamp supported Black Box-chenopod woodland. The increased salinity has lead to much of the understorey being replaced by the salt tolerant Black-seeded Glasswort (Halosarcia pergranulata), with an overstorey of dead River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and Black Box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) (Predebon 1990).

H I

Stock access to Inlet, Outlet and Towrie Creeks from adjoining land has also caused degradation of the creeks and floodplain of this management zone. Regeneration of understorey species such as Spear Grasses (Stipa spp.), Poached Egg Daisy (Myriocephalus sutarii) and Pimelea Daisy Bush (Olearia pimeloides) on the easterly aspect of the swamp is now heavily restricted due to grazing pressure (Predebon 1990).

J K L M

2

Management Aims

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Inlet Creek

18

Moderate

Very Low

Low

Moderate

Outlet & Towrie Creeks

17

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changes to flow regime, rising groundwater and increasing salinity, degraded riparian and floodplain vegetation, grazing and irrigation development. The Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003d) also identified the issue of management of important cultural sites. Key assets under threat in this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Swamp She-oak, Spiny-fruit Saltbush) and fauna (e.g. Great Egret, Brolga), significant and rare wetlands (Karadoc Swamp), and fish populations with a high proportion of native fish species.

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6.3.7 Management Actions for the M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion Aim A - Improved Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 3 waterways with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes (Murray River, Chalka Creek and Narcooyia Creek). • 2 waterways with improvements made to environmental flow regime (Murray River and Chalka Creeks). • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 4 high value reaches (Murray River (Reaches 6, 7, 8) and Chalka Creek (Reach 25) through the Living Murray initiative).

Actions

1 Develop stage 2 water management options for the Hattah Lakes consistent with the MDBC Living Murray ‘icon site’ objectives. 2 Complete the development of an Asset Plan for the Hattah Lakes Icon Site. 3 Investigate water management options to enhance flow to floodplain wetlands downstream of Lock 15 to Lock 10 (Robinvale to Wallpolla)

4 Investigate ecological objectives, ecological water requirements and water management options to enhance flow to floodplain wetlands and anabranches downstream of Nyah to Lock 15. 5 Identify options to enhance habitat for native fish species in Narcooyia Creek, to satisfy both the environmental and economic needs of the waterway. 6 Implement actions 17-19 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to guide management of the Murray River’s water resources in the Mallee region. This includes regional input into future reviews of MDBC cap on water diversions and Victoria’s Bulk Entitlement for the Murray River.

7 Identify and implement short term environmental watering options (i.e. pumping) at Hattah Lakes and other Murray River wetlands, anabranches and effluents with a focus on protecting endangered EVC classes, Red Gum, Black Box and other vegetation communities, consistent with the MDBC Living Murray ‘icon site’ objectives and EWA requirements. 8 Under the framework of the MDBC Living Murray initiative and the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future work in cooperation with MDBC, DSE and other stakeholders to improve the frequency and duration of flows to the Hattah Lakes to meet specific ecological objectives and international agreements. 9 Investigate options for weir manipulation at Locks 11 and 15 in conjunction with MDBC/ RMW to facilitate watering or drying phases. 10 Establish a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of improved water management against ecological and flow objectives in accordance with adaptive management principles.

11 In conjunction with rural water authorities develop improved processes for donated water delivery, including identification of opportunities to use existing or planned water diversion infrastructure for water delivery.

Table 6-3

76

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-4

1

$90,000

M2-4 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2

1 1

$25,000 $120,000

1

$150,000

1

$55,000

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-4

1

$30,000

1

$1,000,000

1

$1,450,000

M2-3 M2-5 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5

2

$165,000

1

$350,000

2

$40,000

Mgt Zone

M2-2

Reach

37

4 5 6, 7 8 9, 10

Sub Program / Responsibility • Living Murray Works and Measures Program • Mallee CMA Environmental Water Reserve Management Program • Murray River Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) Program -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, MDBC, MDFRC, Parks Victoria, water authorities, NSW authorities


Aim B - Manage Rising Saline Groundwater and River Salinity 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

Regional salt interception works to reduce river salinity by 2.7 EC units by 2005. No net increases in river salinity resulting from water trade. Average irrigation drainage volumes maintained at or below a maximum of one ML per ha per year by 2020 River salinity at Morgan maintained at less than 800 EC 95% of time (SKM, 2005). Mean monthly salinity levels at Colignan and Euston Weir to be less than 232 uS/cm and 244 uS/cm respectively (SKM 2005)

Actions

1 Implement priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP); to reduce saline groundwater accessions to the Murray River and floodplain salt storage. This includes actions to: • Investigate opportunities to upgrade water delivery infrastructure • Investigate the potential for water reuse • Investigate sustainability limits for water use efficiency • Investigate next-generation application efficiency technologies • Provide extension and education services to develop skills in water use efficiency • Provide incentives for improvements in water use efficiency and the adoption of on-farm works • Investigate the interactions between regional hydrogeology and the hydrology of the Murray River • Develop a strategic plan for investing in salt interception works • Investigate salt processes on the floodplain and quantify floodplain salt storage • Support implementation of the Sunraysia salt interception program and construction of the Tol Tol and Lamberts Swamp drainage schemes. For a complete list of relevant actions for managing groundwater and addressing river salinity - refer Sections 8 to 11 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e).

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

M2-3 M2-5 M2-6

7

2 1 1

Refer draft VSWQMP for detailed 5-year indicative costs

Mallee CMA Water Resources and River and Wetland Health Programs -------------------Mallee CMA, MDBC, DPI, DSE, Private landholders

Aim C - Reduce the Impacts of Grazing 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 100 ha of riparian or floodplain land under management agreements • 20 km of riparian land (ISC reaches) fenced to reduce stock impacts • 25 km of river (ISC reach), (500 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim C management actions to contribute 15% to RCT)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-5

1

$155,000

M2-1 M2-2 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

2 3 2 1 2 2 3 2 1 2

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions under 5.3 of the Forest Management Plan to reduce grazing impacts at Karadoc through a combination of targeted measures that include fencing, exclusion plots, off-stream watering points, and weed and pest animal control and improved monitoring systems. 2 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program (Actions 7 to 10 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP) to reduce grazing impacts through a combination of measures that include fencing, exclusion plots, off-stream watering points, weed and pest animal control and improved monitoring systems. 3 Identify and map areas where grazing still occurs, to identify areas for protection.

Reach

19

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan (FAP) Project -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE/DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence Holders

Table 6-3

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

77


6.3.7 Management Actions for the M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion Cont’d... Aim D - Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Sediment and nutrient input to the river decreased by diverting drainage water off the floodplain, treating stormwater outfalls, and through improved riparian management and protection. • Flow velocities maintained above 0.8m/s during algae risk period. • SEPP water quality sites and targets established by 2007 to monitor both water quality in Murray River anabranches and attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives. • Algal counts maintained below alert level in regional weir pools by 2025 (VMSWQMP) • Mean annual Total Nitrogen concentrations at (Colignan, Lock 9) to be less than or equal to 0.75mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.75mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual Total Phosphorus concentrations at (Euston and Colignan) to be less than or equal to 0.1mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.1mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual turbidity values at (Red Cliffs) to be less than or equal to 100 NTU (SKM 2005). • Mean annual NOx concentrations at (Euston and Colignan) to be less than or equal to 0.04mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.04mg/l (SKM 2005).

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-5

4 6

1

$1,150,000

1 Implement actions 31-32 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (2003) and actions 36-37 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP (2003) to reduce sedimentation and nutrient inputs to the Murray River.

2 Implement key recommendations of the Cyanobacteria Mitigation in the Mildura Weir Pool study (Whiterod et al. 2004) in partnership with NSW, water authorities and MDBC. 3 Investigate opportunities to redirect or treat urban stormwater and to improve management of drainage on the floodplain or opportunities to divert away from the floodplain, in accordance with the priority principles for the Mildura Rural City Council’s Plan for the Improvement of urban Stormwater Quality. 4 Implement other priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP); to reduce nutrients and sediment loads and other pollutants to the Murray River and its anabranches. This includes actions to: • Investigate point sources of river contamination • Investigate the impacts of septic tanks • Investigate sources, transformation and movement of contaminants from irrigation • Investigate opportunities to target reductions in oxidised nitrogen • Provide extension and education programs aimed at fertiliser application • Provide training in fertiliser best management practice • Support local governments in developing and implementing stormwater management plans • Build awareness and provide community education about water quality • Develop a robust and comprehensive water quality database For a complete list of relevant actions for managing water quality - refer Sections 5 to 6 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e).

Table 6-3

78

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M2-3 M2-5

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5

4, 25 9,10 10

1

1

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project • Mildura and Swan Hill Stormwater Management Plans -------------------MRCC, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, MDBC, G-MW, NSW authorities, MDFRC, EPA


Aim E - Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 35 km of river (400 ha of floodplain) subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control • 25 km of river (ISC reach), (500 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim E management actions to contribute 20% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 26, 27 and 29 of the Robinvale to Merbein FAP (2003), actions 31, 32, and 34 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP (2003), management strategies under section 4.3 of the Mallee Parks MP (1996) and actions under section 6.2 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to achieve coordinated pest plant and animal control.

2 Implement action 28 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan to reduce the prevalence of willows on frontages, particularly Mildura and Robinvale weir pools. 3 Coordinate long term weed control programs for Mallee priority weeds and controlled weeds in frontages under the Mallee Weed Action Plan (2001).

4 Coordinate long term control programs for rabbits under the Rabbit Management Action Plan (2000). 5 Develop other action plans as needed for priority pest animals on frontages. 6 Determine priority aquatic pest plants and animals including invasive problem native plants. 7 Implement priority aquatic pest plants and animal control.

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-3 M2-5 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-4 M2-3 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Reach

6 10

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$175,000

2

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence holders, MDBC, NSW authorities

2

2 2

N/A $25,000 To be determined in response to Action E6

DPI Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria

Aim F - Reduce The Impact of Current and Future Water Diversion Infrastructure 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

50% of disused pumpsites removed All appropriate areas identified for future pumpsite locations 50% of existing and 100% of new pumpsites comply with relevant guidelines 1 demonstration site maintained and actively monitored 25 km of river (ISC reach), (500 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim F management actions to contribute 20% to RCT)

Actions

1 Implement actions 1 to 5 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (2003) and 11 to 17 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP (2003) to reduce the impacts of water diversion infrastructure via removal of unused or abandoned pumps, improved siting of new pumps and restoration of degraded or poorly maintained pump sites (ie rationalisation of unnecessary tracks, erosion control, bank stabilisation, revegetation and rubbish removal).

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5

4

1

$240,000

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project, • New Irrigation Development Guidelines -------------------Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, DSE/DPI, LMW, Local Government, Pumpsite Licensees

Table 6-3

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

79


6.3.7 Management Actions for the M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion Cont’d... Aim G - Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 80 km of river (1,000 ha) subjected to improved recreation management. • 6 education materials/media products developed and distributed to community members to increase community awareness of negative recreational impacts to river health • 25 km of river (ISC reach), (500 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim G management actions to contribute 25% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 8 - 13 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (2003), actions 1 - 6 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP (2003) and priority actions under the Murray River Parklands Strategic Recreation Plan (2000) to reduce recreational pressures to the floodplain and riparian zone, particularly at Robinvale (Reach 6) and Mildura (Reach 10). This includes track rationalisation and wet weather road closures, separation of conflicting uses, improved education and awareness, greater enforcement, rubbish removal and development and implementation of riverine protection plans for high use areas. 2 Implement actions 21 and 25 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy to reduce rubbish in riparian areas and rehabilitate Chaffey Bend. 3 Implement priority actions under sections 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 under the Forest Management Plan to reduce recreation pressures.

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$435,000

6 10

4 5 4 5

2 1

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project, • Mallee Waterwatch Program, • River Watch -------------------Mallee CMA, , Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Local Govt., NSW authorities

Aim H - Retain Riparian Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • • • • • •

8 km (150 ha) of work undertaken to protect high value riparian habitat and floodplain 4 km of works undertaken to protect and reinstate high value in-stream habitat Barriers to fish passage addressed (MAT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) 2 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated An increase (or no net decrease) in size, range and number of populations of 3 rare or threatened aquatic, riparian and floodplain species (Regent Parrot, Carpet Python, Murray Hardyhead) Increase in river length made accessible to native fish (RCT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) 1 reach in good ISC condition (Chalka Creek - Reach 25) and progressing toward achieving ecologically healthy criteria 1 reach with aquatic life sub-index score of 8 (as measured by ISC) maintained or protected 3 reaches with an improvement of at least 1 rating in the aquatic life sub-index score (as measured by ISC)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-5

19

4

$60,000

M2-2

37

1

$125,000

M2-4

25

1

$50,000

1

$145,000

1 Implement actions 18 to 22 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan to protect riparian and in-stream habitat of Carwarp Creek. 2 Implement action 22 of the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy to protect and reinstate snag habitat within Narcooyia Creek to provide refuge for Murray Cod during high flow periods. 3 Develop an action plan for Chalka Creek with the aim of achieving near ecologically healthy river status. 4 Implement priority actions identified within the Robinvale-Nyah Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan to protect high value flora and fauna habitat.

5 Implement Section 3.3 and 3.4 of the Forest Management Plan to manage the habitat of Carpet Python and other threatened flora and fauna in this management zone in accordance with respective Action Statements, conservation guidelines, relevant legislation and policies. 6 Complete the regional survey of barriers to fish passage and implement key recommendations (ie removal or modification of barriers) at priority reaches.

7 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions

Table 6-3

80

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-4 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-4 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

4 8,25 17

2

2

To be determined

2

$65,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, NSW authorities


Aim I - Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• Works undertaken to enhance 12 km (900 ha) of degraded riparian habitat and floodplain and improve one measure of ISC condition. • 25 km of river (ISC reach), (500 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim I management actions to contribute 20% to RCT).

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M2-2 M2-5 M2-6

36, 37

3

$425,000

1 Implement actions 23 - 24 of the Nyah to Robinvale Frontage Action Plan (2003) and actions 19 - 22 of the Robinvale to Merbein FAP (2003) to address and restore riparian and floodplain degradation caused by weeds, scalding and erosion, particularly at Karadoc, Inlet, Outlet, Narcooyia and Bonyaricall Creeks. 2 Investigate in further detail high priority actions identified by Wetland Operational Plans prepared for Karadoc Swamp, Kings Billabong, Lakes Powell, Carpul and Iraak. 3 Implement actions 2 - 3 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to identify and prioritise existing erosion sites along the Murray and implement appropriate erosion stabilisation works.

4 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions.

M2-2 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

3

20 36, 37 38 19 17, 18 20 36, 37 38 19 17, 18

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, MDBC, MDFRC

3

3

Aim J - Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or adjoining Waterways 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Best management practice/ development guidelines and planning provisions for the Murray River reviewed and updated • Priority actions implemented to reduce the risk and damage of floods in accordance with the Mallee Floodplain Strategy (Mallee CMA 2001). • New development and use of land within or adjacent to wetlands and waterways compatible with surrounding scenic, cultural and environmental riparian values. • No net increase in flood risk and cost of damage from floods.

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement action 27 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to address the impacts of rural drainage for new irrigation developments.

2 Review the Mildura and Swan Hill Planning Schemes, and support the ongoing use and review of best management practice guidelines to guide appropriate use and development of land within the floodplain or adjoining waterways of the Robinvale Plains Bioregion.

3 Implement priority actions under the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy (2001) to protect the values of the Robinvale Plains Bioregion and reduce the impacts of floods to life, safety and property.

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

1

To be determined

Local Government, Water Authorities, Mallee CMA

1

$70,000

Local Government, Mallee CMA

1

$400,000

Local Government, Mallee CMA, SES

Table 6-3

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

81


6.3.7 Management Actions for the M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion Cont’d... Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 8 priority studies and plans (ecological investigations, research, surveys and monitoring programs) undertaken to improve information on baseline conditions and to review and revise management actions and targets. • Improved knowledge and baseline information on river health (condition, values and threats) to inform development and/or refinement of priority management responses and corresponding resource condition targets.

Actions

1 Utilise the outcomes of monitoring programs, new survey and research findings and revisions to Government policy to review and revise management actions for this bioregion.

2 Include Carwarp Creek in a regional assessment of barriers to fish passage in the Mallee CMA region. 3 Undertake targeted surveys of fish species, other aquatic vertebrates, and macro and micro invertebrates (across various age classes), to address knowledge gaps and assist with future priority setting; and to benchmark responsiveness to river management activities – and trial the use of a fish diary. 4 Utilise completed Digital Elevation Model and Hydraulic Model of Hattah Lakes to inform flow behaviour and the development of water management options at this site 5 Develop riverine protection plans for FAP targeted work sites at priority reaches

6 Aquire data or undertake investigations to fill knowledge gaps to determine the conservation status of data deficient EVC’s. 7 Undertake a survey of the distribution and status of Growling Grass Frog in the Mallee region. 8 Complete the development of a Wetland Prioritisation study and the Mallee Regional Wetland Strategy to guide investment and management of wetlands within the Robinvale Plains Bioregion. 9 Develop a condition-assessment program for priority wetlands in the Robinvale Plains Bioregion using the Index of Wetland Condition (IWC), a rapid assessment tool under development by DSE. Incorporate this into the Mallee Regional Catchment Condition report. 10 Investigate opportunities to fill current data gaps within the RiVERS database 11 Identify opportunities to utilise existing or planned water diversion infrastructure to deliver environmental flows.

12 Investigate and trial the use infra red aerial photography to monitor floodplain and riparian health. 13 Undertake comprehensive flora and fauna surveys of the Robinvale Plains Bioregion, including survey of floodplain and in-stream coarse wood loads. 14 Undertake mapping of new Wetland EVCs. 15 Develop a wetland-monitoring program to facilitate adaptive management of priority wetlands.

16 Acquire a Digital Elevation Model of the Robinvale Plains Bioregion to better understand flood behaviour and water movement in this area. 17 Investigate impacts of unregulated firewood collection on floodplain habitat availability and use. 18 Undertake fauna surveys of lake beds and wetlands during dry, wet and intermittent phases to gain a greater understanding of species habitat requirements.

Table 6-3

82

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$20,000

4

$5,000

M2-1 M2-4 M2-5

2

$75,000

M2-4

1

$75,000

M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

2

$200,000

4

$20,000

3

$20,000

1

$25,000

2

$50,000

2 2

$25,000 $25,000

2

$20,000

3

$120,000

3 2

2

Still to be determined as part of the Mallee Wetland Strategy $180,000

3

$40,000

3

Still to be determined as part of the Mallee Wetland Strategy

Mgt Zone

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-5

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

M2-4

Reach

19

4 5 8, 9 10

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Environmental Flows Program • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, MDFRC, DSE, DIPNR, MDBC, Parks Victoria


Aim L - Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health • 28 community/ school groups actively involved in Waterwatch community monitoring and/or river health management activities • 15 community events held to improve community awareness of river health issues • Increase unprompted community awareness of river health issues from 27% (Quantum 2002) to 35%

5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Through the Mallee Waterwatch Program, the Frontage Action Plan Education and Awareness Program and River Watch, implement river health awareness and education activities and develop related materials and media for local community groups, schools and visitors to the region.

Reach

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M2-4

2 Work in partnership with MDFRC, MDBC, DSE and Parks Victoria to develop a targeted river health education program focussed on raising awareness of the key environmental assets of and threats to the Robinvale Plains Bioregion and communicating the complex environmental benefits of improved river health and water management at the Hattah Lakes Living Murray ‘icon sites’.

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$420,000

1

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Waterwatch Program, • FAP Education and Awareness Program • River Watch -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, LMW, MRCC, SHRCC, MDFRC, Parks Victoria, LMDCMA

Aim M - Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites • Works undertaken to protect and manage 15 cultural heritage sites through fencing and erosion control works. • 3 education materials developed and distributed to community members to promote awareness of cultural heritage values of riparian and floodplain areas. • 15 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites on the floodplain protected and managed.

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 28 - 30 of the Nyah to Robinvale FAP (2003), actions 23 - 25 of the Robinvale to Merbein FAP (2003), management actions under Section 3.6.1 of the Mallee Parks MP (1996) and actions under Chapter 8 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to protect endangered sites, manage degraded sites and implement cultural heritage awareness activities. 2 Develop protocols for consultation and engagement with indigenous groups regarding site assessments and protection, involving all regulatory bodies.

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$150,000

1

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, NWRACH, Parks Victoria

Table 6-3

6.3.8 Management Actions Priorities for the M2 Robinvale Plains Bioregion Priority of action within management zone Management Zone

1

2

3

4

M2-1

A4, A6, A7, A10, D1, D4, F1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K8, M1, M2

A11, C2, C3, E1, E3, E4, E6, E7, H5, H6, H7, K3, K9, K10, K11, K12, K15, K16, L1

I3, I4, K7, K13, K14, K17

K6

M2-2

A4, A5, A6, A7, A10, D1, D4, F1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K8, M1, M2

A11, E1, E3, E6, E7, H2, H6, H7, K5, K9, K10, K11, K12, K15, K16, L1

C2, C3, I1, I2, I3, I4, K7, K13, K14, K17

K6

M2-3

A3, A6, A7, A10, , D1, D3, D4, F1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K8, M1, M2

A9, A11, B1, E1, E2, E3, E5, E6, E7, H7, K5, K9, K10, K11, K12, K15, K16, L1

K7, K13, K14, K17

K6

M2-4

A1, A2, A3, A6, A7, A8, A10, D1, D4, F1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K4, K8, L2, M1, M2

A11, C2, C3, E1, E3, E4, E6, E7, H3, H5, H6, H7, K3, K5, K9, K10, K11, K12, K15, K16, 1

I3, I4, K7, K13, K14, K17, K18

K6

M2-5

A3, A6, A7, A10, B1, C1, C2, C3, D1, D2, D3, D4, F1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K8, M1, M2

A9, A11, E1, E2, E3, E6, E7, H7, K3, K5, K9, K10, K11, K12, K15, K16, L1

I1, I2, I3, I4, K7, K13, K14, K17

H1, K2, K6

M2-6

A3, A6, A7, A10, B1, G1, G2, G3, H4, J1, J2, J3, K1, K8, M1, M2

C2, C3, E1, E3, E5, E6, E7, H5, H6, H7, K9, K10, K12, K15, K16, L1

I1, I2, I3, I4, K7, K13, K14, K17

K6

Table 6-4

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

83


6.4 M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion 6.4.1 M3-1 Murray River Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

84

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt

Murray River - Reach 11


1

Description

3

Management Aims

This reach of the river includes the area from Lock 11 at Mildura downstream past the Merbein Township to the Darling River Junction. This area has important recreational value for the residents of Mildura and Merbein and includes popular recreational areas such as Chaffey Bend, Apex Park, Johnsons Bend and Merbein Common. The high recreation use of the river within this management zone is putting pressure on the environmental values of the frontage and floodplain, particularly from motor vehicles, with a proliferation of tracks resulting in the destruction of sensitive flora and erosion of soils.

The management aims identified for M3-1 include;

Merbein Common consists mainly of the Horseshoe Bend State Forest, with sewage treatment and limited grazing undertaken in the southeast. Salinity has a major impact on the floodplain, degrading the aquatic ecosystem and fringing wetland vegetation (Bluml 1992). River Red Gum forest, Black Box-chenopod woodland, Pine woodland, and saline shrubland are present in this area, as well as a number of rare or threatened plant species.

E

A B D

F G H

This management zone also includes the floodplain wetlands of Lake Ranfurly and Hawthorn, which form part of the Mildura-Merbein Groundwater Interception Scheme. Lake Ranfurly has become highly saline due to the disposal of groundwater from the Mildura-Interception Scheme. The lake is shallow and provides an ideal feeding ground for waterbirds, supporting 124 bird species and populations of between 10,000 and 15,000. Adjacent to Ranfurly is Lake Hawthorn, which supports the Critically Endangered (DSE 2003a) Murray Hardyhead, a species listed as nationally Vulnerable under the EPBC Act 1999. Irrigation drainage disposal onto the floodplain in this reach has also degraded the environment at Yelta and parts of Merbein Common. The management of stormwater outfalls also remains an ongoing management issue for this reach, as Merbein and Mildura expand. 2

I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

11

High

High

Very High

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

High

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include groundwater inflows, algal blooms, changed flow regime, loss of instream habitat, pest plants and animals, degraded riparian vegetation, loss of wetland connectivity and recreation pressures. Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include management of irrigation development, and significant cultural sites. Key assets at risk in this management zone are significant flora (e.g. Twiggy Emu Bush, Yellow Tails) and fauna (e.g. Murray Hardyhead, Bush Stone Curlew), irrigation water supply and recreation. Murray River Reach 11 is identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

85


6.4.2 M3-2 Murray River and Thompson Creek Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

86

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt

Murray River - Reach 12, 13

Thompson Creek - Reach 44


1

Description

3

This management zone includes Reach 12 and 13 of the Murray River, located downstream of the Darling Junction, and Thompson Creek (Reach 44), measuring 3 km in Wallpolla Island. This area is relatively remote and lies adjacent to "Keera", "Kulnine" and "Cowra" stations. The area also includes the offtake point for Lake Cullulleraine, which is fed by a channel from the Lock 9 Weir Pool. The Lock 9 Weir Pool is popular for camping and water sports; the upstream reach at Snaggy Point is also popular for recreation. A Murray River Frontage Action Plan Demonstration site has been set up at Cowra Station between Finnigans Creek inlet and Snaggy Point, which is focussed on the ongoing management of recreational and grazing pressures. The floodplain in this eastern area has experienced pressure from motor vehicle access, with a proliferation of tracks resulting in the destruction of sensitive flora and erosion of soils, particularly within the Black Box chenopod woodland.

The management aims identified for M3-2 include; A B C D E F G

As with other floodplain areas along the Murray River, particularly within the Murray Scroll Belt bioregion, the lack of flooding over an extended period in recent years means many River Red Gums in this zone are now at severe risk from water stress (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004).

H I K M

2

Management Aims

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

LCC Land Classification

Threats

Murray River

12

High

Moderate

High

High

Moderate

Murray River

13

High

Moderate

High

High

Moderate

Thompson Creek

44

Moderate

Low

Low

Near EHR

Moderate

Following the risk analysis, key threats identified in Reaches 12 and 13 of this management zone include algal blooms, stock access, loss of instream habitat & wetland connectivity, flow deviation and pest animals. Key threats in Reach 44 include impacts from grazing, changes to the flow regime, and groundwater inflow (Reach 44). Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include protection of riparian vegetation, impacts of recreation, management of irrigation development and management of significant cultural sites. Key assets identified as being at risk include significant flora (e.g. Darling Lily, Garland Lily) and fauna (e.g. Common Death Adder, Barking Owl), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, irrigation water supply, recreation, and a rare type of wetland (Wallpolla Island). Murray River Reaches 12 and 13 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

87


6.4.3 M3-3 Wallpolla/Moorna Creek Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14 Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt Wallpolla Creek - Reach 39, 40 Deep Creek - Reach 41 Mullroo Creek - Reach 42 Dedmans Creek - Reach 43 Finnigans Creek - Reach 45 Sandy Creek - Reach 46,47 Milky Creek - Reach 48 Ranka Creek - Reach 49 Railway Creek - Reach 50 Wilipanance Creek - Reach 51 Mooma Creek - Reach 52, 53 Boy Creek - Reach 54

88

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006


1

Description

3

This management zone lies to the south of the M3-2 management zone and includes Wallpolla Island. It is of very high environmental value and provides habitat for the FFG Act 1988 listed Paucident Planigale, and waterbirds listed under the JAMBA and CAMBA agreements. The floodplain vegetation of Wallpolla Island, consisting of three major vegetation communities (River Red Gum forest, Black Box-chenopod woodland and Sporobolus grasslands), supports many rare and threatened flora and fauna species (McKane 1992). The Island also has significant cultural value, including the presence of a large number of burial sites. The Island includes a complex system of anabranches and distributaries associated with Wallpolla Creek (56 km) and Mullroo Creek (4 km). As there are no internal regulator structures within the Island, flooding is controlled under regulated conditions by the pool level behind Lock 9. Water levels are managed to deliver water to Lake Victoria via Frenchmans’ Creek, delivering South Australia’s water entitlement (McNee 1996).

The management aims identified for M3-3 include; A B C D E F G

Parts of the lower western end of Wallpolla Island now hold permanent water due to the influence of the Lock 9 weir pool; however the eastern part of the Island has experienced a decrease in the frequency and magnitude of flows. Wallpolla Island forms part of the Chowilla Floodplain and Lindsay-Wallpolla islands Icon Site under the MDBC Living Murray Initiative. As with other floodplain areas along the Murray River, particularly within the Murray Scroll Belt bioregion, the lack of flooding over an extended period in recent years means the health of many River Red Gum forests are at severe risk from water stress (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004). Previous light grazing by stock is currently being phased out, however logging and firewood collection by recreational users remains a management issue, along with populations of feral pigs present on the Island. 2

Management Aims

H I K M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Wallpolla Creek

39

High

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Wallpolla Creek

40

High

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Dedmans Creek

43

High

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Finnigans Creek

45

High

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Sandy Creek

46

High

Low

Low

Moderate

Sandy Creek

47

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Ranka Creek

49

High

Low

Low

Moderate

Railway Creek

50

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Willipanance Crk

51

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Moorna Creek

52

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Moorna Creek

53

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Deep Creek

41

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Mullroo Creek

42

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Milky Creek

48

Moderate

Low

Low

Moderate

Boy Creek

54

Low

Very Low

Low

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include changed flow regime, rising groundwater, loss of wetland connectivity, grazing impacts, bed stability (Reaches 43, 45, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54), algal blooms (Reaches 40, 45, 46, 47), degraded riparian vegetation (Reaches 40, 45, 46,47), pest animals (Reaches 40, 45, 46), impacts from recreation, and barriers to fish passage. Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include management of new irrigation development, and significant cultural sites. Key assets under threat in this management zone are significant flora (e.g. Lagoon Nightshade (Reaches 39, 40, 49, 53), Soda Bush (Reach 46)), and fauna (e.g. Silver Perch (Reach 40), Red-naped Snake (Reaches 39, 45)), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, sites of cultural significance and significant and rare wetlands (Wallpolla Island). Reaches 39, 40, 43, 45, 46 and 49 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

89


6.4.4 M3-4 Lock 9 to Lock 8 Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

90

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt

Murray River - Reach 14


1

Description

3

This management zone includes the stretch of the Murray River between Lock 9 to Lock 8, which is under the influence of the Lock 8 Weir Pool. The area is bordered by Mulcra Island floodplain and State Forest to the south at the downstream end, and by Ned’s Corner Station for much of its upstream length. Vegetation in this zone comprises mainly River Red Gum and Black Box timbered flats, with a number of predominantly dry Lignum swamps (McKane 1992). The swamps provide high value habitat for many fauna species. The influence of Lock 9 is causing the intrusion of saline groundwater into the upstream section of Reach 14, resulting in significant salinity problems. As with other floodplain areas along the Murray River, particularly within the Murray Scroll Belt bioregion, lack of flooding over an extended period in recent years has put the health of many river Red Gum forests under severe threat from water stress (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004).

The management aims identified for M3-4 include: A B C D E F G

In the past stock from Ned’s Corner Station have had unrestricted grazing access to floodplain and frontages within the floodplain adjoining the Murray River within this management zone. This has led to many of these areas being heavily grazed, threatening riparian flora. Recent water ponding works completed under the Murray River Frontage Action Plan project aims to address these scalded areas.

2

Management Aims

H K M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

14

High

Moderate

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include algal blooms, impacts from grazing, flow deviation, salinity and rising groundwater, loss of in-stream habitat and wetland connectivity, pest animals, surface salting, and impacts from recreation. Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include management of significant cultural sites and degradation of riparian vegetation. Key assets under threat include significant flora (e.g. Lagoon Nightshade) and fauna (e.g. Growling Grass Frog, Grey Falcon), vulnerable vegetation communities, good width and continuity of riparian vegetation, a rare type of wetland, and recreation. Murray River Reach 14 is identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

91


6.4.5 M3-5 Lock 8 to Lock 7 & Potterwalkagee Creek Management Zone Mallee Basin No. 14

92

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt

Murray River - Reach 15

Potterwalkagee Creek - Reach 31


1

Description

3

Management Aims

This management zone includes the distributaries and anabranches of the Potterwalkagee Creek system (24 km). The floodplain areas shown on the aerial photograph contained between the Murray River and Potterwalkagee Creek are known as Mulcra 1 to the west and Mulcra 2 to the east.

The management aims identified for M3-5 include:

Mulcra Island consists of approximately 2,156 ha of land bound by the Murray River and Potterwalkagee Creek, situated approximately 80 km west of Mildura, and is immediately north and adjacent to Ned’s Corner Station. Potterwalkagee Creek forms an anabranch of the Murray River, which bypasses Lock 8 and maintains a permanent base flow. The island is in public ownership under two tenures; Murray River Public Purposes Reserve adjacent to the south bank of the Murray River and managed by Parks Victoria, and State Forest, under the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Forest Management. The area has recently been included as part of the Chowilla Floodplain and Lindsay-Wallpolla islands Icon Site under the MDBC Living Murray Initiative.

B

Loss of flow variability in the floodplains and wetlands of Mulcra Island has lead to loss of habitat diversity, undermining the biological diversity of the floodplain ecosystem. Artificial barriers to the passage of aquatic organisms, such as road crossings and culverts, are an ongoing management issue for the Potterwalkagee Creek system. As with other floodplain areas along the Murray River, particularly within the Murray Scroll Belt bioregion, lack of flooding over an extended period means water stress presents a severe risk to the health of many River Red Gum forests (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004).

H

A

C D E F G

I K M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

In the past, stock from Ned’s Corner Station have had unrestricted grazing access to floodplain and frontages within the State Forest areas adjoining the Murray River and Potterwalkagee Creek, threatening riparian flora through heavy grazing. As part of the Murray River Frontage Action Plan project, recent water ponding works aim to address these scalded areas. Recreational impacts also remain an ongoing management issue for the island. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

15

High

Moderate

High

Potterwalkagee Creek

31

High

Moderate

Low

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

High Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include algal blooms, impacts from grazing, rising groundwater, changed flow regimes, loss of instream habitat and wetland connectivity, pest plants and animals, barriers to fish passage (Reach 31), surface salting and recreation impacts (Reach 15). Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include management of significant cultural sites, and degradation of riparian vegetation. Key assets at risk include significant flora (e.g. Bignonia Emu-Bush, Hairy Darling-pea (Reach 31)) and fauna (e.g. Regent Parrot, Gull-billed Tern), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, high structural intactness of riparian vegetation, and recreation. Murray River Reach 15 and 31 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

93


6.4.6 M3-6 Lindsay/Mullaroo/Toupnein Creeks Management Zone Murray River - Reach 16

94

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Mallee Basin No. 14 Bioregion - Murray Scroll Belt Lindsay River - Reach 26, 27 Toupnein Creek - Reach 28

Mullaroo Creek - Reach 29, 30


1

Description

3

This management zone extends from Lock 7 to the SA Border and includes Lindsay Island, which has been recognised a part of the Chowilla Floodplain and Lindsay-Wallpolla islands Icon Site under the MDBC Living Murray initiative.

The management aims identified for M3-6 include: A

The majority of Lindsay Island is managed by Parks Victoria under the National Parks Act 1975 and the Mallee Parks Management Plan (DNRE 1996). It has been recognised for its characteristic geomorphology of floodplains, billabongs and creeks and its diverse flora and fauna, which include Black Box-chenopod woodlands, Slender Cypress Pine (Callitris gracilis) and Belah (Casuarina pauper) woodlands, chenopod shrublands, River Red Gum forests, and the nationally threatened Plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus) and Regent Parrot. The Mullaroo Creek also contains significant Murray Cod populations. The island also supports various numerous species that are significant at national, state and regional levels, such as Plains Spurge (Euphorbia tannensis), and Murray Lily (Crinum flaccidum), and several bird species listed under the Japan-Australia and China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreements (JAMBA & CAMBA).

B C D E F G

Changed flow regimes present the biggest threat to these values. Mullaroo Creek, lower Lindsay River, Toupnein Creek and Websters Lagoon are now inundated for longer periods than natural, whereas the other anabranches and wetlands on Lindsay Island, including its floodplain, have experienced a decrease in the frequency and magnitude of floods. As with other floodplain areas along the Murray River, particularly within the Murray Scroll Belt bioregion, lack of flooding over an extended period means water stress presents a severe risk to the health of many River Red Gum forests (Brett Lane and Associates Pty Ltd. 2004).

H

Significant areas (1,457 ha) of irrigation development exist at Lindsay Point for almonds and citrus crops, which extract water from the lower Lindsay River in the Lock 6 Weir Pool. The upper Lindsay River is affected by high salinity inflow of groundwater. Blanchetown clay can provide a cap that seals groundwater inflow from entering the river, however this reach, along with the M3-5 and M3-4 management zones, form an area where Blanchetown clay is absent and the risk of groundwater inflow to the river and associated wetlands is therefore high. To reduce these saline inflows and meet irrigator demands, salinity dilution flows are supplied to the Lower Lindsay River via Mullaroo Creek (McNee 1996).

K M

2

Management Aims

I J

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Murray River

16

High

Moderate

Lindsay River

26

High

Moderate

Lindsay River

27

High

Mullaroo Creek

29

High

Mullaroo Creek

30

Toupnein Creek

28

LCC Land Classification

Threats

High

High

High

Moderate

High

Moderate

Low

Low

High

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

High

Moderate

High

Moderate

Moderate

High

Moderate

High

Moderate

Low

High

Moderate

Near EHR

From the risk analysis, key threats identified for this management zone include algal blooms, rising groundwater, impacts from grazing, changes to flow regime, loss of in-stream habitat & wetland connectivity, barriers to fish passage (Reaches 27, 28) and pest animals. Other management issues identified in the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (Mallee CMA 2003b) include management of irrigation development, significant cultural sites, and impacts from recreation; and protection of high value flora and fauna habitat. Key assets identified as being under threat in this management zone include significant flora (e.g. Desert Spurge (Reach 26), Goat Head (Reach 16) and fauna (e.g. Freshwater Catfish, Murray Cod, Square-tailed Kite), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, excellent width and continuity of vegetation (Reach 16), high structural intactness of vegetation (Reach 27), significant and rare wetlands, irrigation water supply, and recreation. Reaches 16, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 are identified as a high priority within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

95


6.4.7 Management Actions for the M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Aim A - Improve Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 5 waterways with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes (Mullaroo Creek, Murray River, Lindsay River, Potterwalkagee Creek and Wallpolla Creek) • 5 waterways with improvements made to environmental flow regime (Mullaroo Creek, Murray River, Lindsay River, Potterwalkagee Creek and Wallpolla Creek) • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 8 high value reaches (Murray River Reaches 12, 13, 15, 16, Mullaroo Creek Reaches 29, 30, Wallpolla Creek Reach 40 and Lindsay River Reach 27 through the Living Murray initiative)

Actions

1 Implement preferred flow recommendations of the Options Assessment Report for the Wallpolla and Lindsay Island areas, consistent with the MDBC Living Murray ‘icon site’ objectives. 2 Identify ecological objectives, water requirements and water management options for Mulcra Island, consistent with the MDBC Living Murray ‘icon site’ objectives. 3 Complete the development of an inter-jurisdictional Asset Plan for the Chowilla Floodplain and Lindsay-Wallpolla islands Icon Site. 4 Under the framework of the MDBC Living Murray initiative and the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future work in cooperation with MDBC, DSE and other stakeholders to improve the frequency and duration of flows to Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Islands in order to meet specific ecological objectives identified in the Asset Plan/s. 5 Identify and implement short term environmental watering options (i.e. pumping) at Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Islands with a focus on protecting endangered EVC classes, Red Gum, Black Box and other vegetation communities, consistent with the MDBC Living Murray ‘icon site’ objectives and EWA requirements. 6 Implement actions 17-19 of the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy (2001) to guide management of the Murray River’s water resources in the Mallee region. This includes regional input into future reviews of the MDBC cap on water diversions and Victoria’s Bulk Entitlement for the Murray River. 7 Identify options for the management of water levels for floodplain wetlands within M3-1 to protect and enhance critical habitat for Murray Hardyhead. 8 Work with EPA to develop local operating protocols for minimising fish kills (e.g. black water events) when implementing water management options. 9 Investigate options for weir manipulation (surcharges and drawdowns) at Locks 6, 7, 8 and 9 in conjunction with MDBC/ RMW to facilitate ‘icon site’ watering or drying phases. 10 Establish a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of improved water management against ecological and flow objectives, in accordance with adaptive management principles.

11 In conjunction with rural water authorities, develop improved processes for donated water delivery.

Table 6-5

96

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M3-3 M3-6

1

$2,500,000

M3-5

1

$110,000

M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M3-3 M3-5 M3-6

1

$65,000

1

(refer cost for action 1 above)

M3-3 M3-5 M3-6

1

$1,500,000

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-1

1

$25,000

1

$135,000

M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

2

$25,000

1

$180,000

1

$700,000

2

$5,000

Mgt Zone

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility • Living Murray Works and Measures Program • Mallee CMA Environmental Water Reserve Management Program • Murray River Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) Program -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, MDBC, MDFRC, Parks Victoria, SA Water, LMW, private landholders


Aim B - Manage Rising Saline Groundwater and River Salinity 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

Regional salt interception works to reduce river salinity by 2.7 EC units by 2005 No net increases in river salinity resulting from water trade Average irrigation drainage volumes maintained at or below a maximum of 1 ML per ha per year by 2020 River salinity at Morgan maintained at less than 800 EC 95% of time (SKM 2005) Mean monthly salinity levels at Wentworth to be less than 344 uS/cm (SKM 2005)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

1

Refer draft VSWQMP for detailed 5-year indicative costs

Mallee CMA Water Resources and River and Wetland Health Programs -------------------Mallee CMA, MDBC, DPI, DSE, Private landholders

M3-1

1

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-3

1

Mgt Zone

1 Implement priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP) to reduce saline groundwater accessions to the Murray River and floodplain salt storage. This includes actions to: • Investigate opportunities to upgrade water delivery infrastructure • Investigate the potential for water reuse • Investigate sustainability limits for water use efficiency • Investigate next-generation application efficiency technologies • Provide extension and education services to develop skills in water use efficiency • Provide incentives for improvements in water use efficiency and the adoption of on-farm works • Investigate the interactions between regional hydrogeology and the hydrology of the Murray River • Develop a strategic plan for investing in salt interception works • Investigate salt processes on the floodplain and quantify floodplain salt storage • Investigate the hydrogeology of the Murray River between Lock 10 and the SA border For a complete list of relevant actions for managing groundwater and addressing river salinity - refer sections 8 to 11 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e). 2 Implement identified options to minimise the disposal of saline drainage water into the river, floodplains and its wetlands. 3 Revegetate areas affected by saline scalds.

4 Improve understanding of groundwater interactions on Wallpolla Island.

Reach

1

Aim C - Reduce the Impacts of Grazing 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 200 ha of riparian or floodplain land under management agreements • 20 km of riparian land (ISC reaches) fenced to reduce stock impacts • 33 km of river (ISC reach), (660 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim C management actions to contribute 10% to RCT)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

1

$150,000

M3-3

1

M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

1

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 8 - 12 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003), actions under section 5.3 of the Forest Management Plan (2004), and section 4.2 of the Mallee Parks Management Plan (1996) to reduce the impacts of grazing. This will be achieved by a combination of targeted and incentives based measures including fencing, exclusion plots, off-stream watering points, weed and pest animal control and improved monitoring systems. 2 Continue to phase out grazing within the Wallpolla Island area, and prevent reintroduction of grazing to excluded areas. 3 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to encourage licence holders/lessees to adopt best management practice riparian management.

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan (FAP) Project -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence Holders

Table 6-5

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

97


6.4.7 Management Actions for the M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Cont’d... Aim D - Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Sediment and nutrient input to the river decreased by diverting drainage water off the floodplain, treating stormwater outfalls, and through improved riparian management and protection • Flow velocities maintained above 0.8m/s during algae risk period • SEPP water quality sites and targets established by 2007 to monitor both water quality in Murray River anabranches and attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives • Algal counts maintained below alert level in regional weir pools by 2025 (VMSWQMP) • Mean annual Total Nitrogen concentrations at (Lock 9) to be less than or equal to 0.75 mg/L when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.75 mg/L (SKM 2005) • Mean annual Total Phosphorus concentrations at (Merbein and u/s of Lock 9) to be less than or equal to 0.1 mg/L when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.1 mg/L (SKM 2005) • Mean annual turbidity values at (Red Cliffs) to be less than or equal to 100 NTU (SKM 2005) • Mean annual NOx concentrations at (Merbein and Lock 9) to be less than or equal to 0.04 mg/L when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.04 mg/L (SKM 2005)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-6 M3-1

39 16,26, 27,28, 29,30

1

$350,000

1 Implement actions 21 and 30 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003) to reduce sedimentation and nutrient inputs to Lindsay River, Mullaroo Creek, Wallpolla Creek and the Murray River. 2 Investigate opportunities to redirect or treat urban stormwater and improve management of drainage on the floodplain, or opportunities to divert away from the floodplain, in accordance with the priority principles for the Mildura Rural City Council’s Plan for the Improvement of Urban Stormwater Quality. 3 Implement other priority actions under the Irrigated Land Management Program of the Draft Victorian Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP) to reduce nutrients and sediment loads and other pollutants to the Murray River and its anabranches. This includes actions to: • Investigate point sources of river contamination • Investigate sources, transformation and movement of contaminants from irrigation • Investigate opportunities to target reductions in oxidised nitrogen • Provide extension and education programs aimed at fertiliser application • Provide training in fertiliser best management practice • Support local governments in developing and implementing stormwater management plans • Build awareness and provide community education about water quality • Develop a robust and comprehensive water quality database For a complete list of relevant actions for managing water quality - refer sections 5 to 6 of the draft VSWQMP (Mallee CMA 2003e).

1

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-6

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project • Mildura Rural City Council Stormwater Management Plan -------------------MRCC, Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, LMW, EPA

Aim E - Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 40 km of river (700 ha of floodplain) subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control • 33 km of river (ISC reach), (660 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim E management actions to contribute 25% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

39,40, 43,45, 46,47, 49,53

2

$185,000

11 12,13 14 15

2

1 Implement actions 25 - 28 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003), management strategies under Section 4.4 of the Mallee Parks MP (1996), and actions under section 6.2 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to coordinate pest plant and animal control across the region.

2 Implement action 27 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003) to reduce the prevalence of willows on frontages, particularly around weir pools.

3 Coordinate long term weed control programs for Mallee priority weeds and controlled weeds in frontages under the Mallee Weed Action Plan. 4 Coordinate long term control programs for rabbits under the Rabbit Management Action Plan (2000). 5 Develop and implement other action plans as needed for priority pest animals on frontages. 6 Review priority aquatic pest plants and animals, including invasive and problem native plants. 7 Implement priority aquatic pest plant and animal control works.

Table 6-5

98

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria, Licence holders, MDBC, NSW Waterways, DIP&NR

2 2 2

N/A

2

$20,000

2

To be determined in response to Action E6

DPI Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria


Aim F - Reduce The Impact of Current and Future Water Diversion Infrastructure 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • •

50% of disused pumpsites removed All appropriate areas identified for future pumpsite locations 50% of existing and 100% of new pumpsites comply with relevant guidelines 33 km of river (ISC reach), (660 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim F management actions to contribute 5% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 1 - 5 of the Robinvale to Merbein Frontage Action Plan (2003), reducing the impact of water diversion infrastructure via removal of unused or abandoned pumps, improved siting of new pumps, and restoration of degraded or poorly maintained pump sites (e.g. rationalisation of unnecessary tracks, erosion control, bank stabilisation, revegetation and rubbish removal).

Reach

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-6

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

3

$135,000

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project • New Irrigation Development Guidelines -------------------Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, DSE/DPI, LMW, Local Government, Pumpsite Licensees

Aim G - Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 60 km of river (800 ha) subjected to improved recreation management • 4 education materials/media products developed and distributed to community members to increase community awareness of negative recreational impacts to river health • 1 demonstration site established and actively monitored • 33 km of river (ISC reach), (660 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim G management actions to contribute 25% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost $275,000

1 Implement actions 1 - 7 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003), actions 21 and 25 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001), and priority actions of the Murray River Parklands Strategic Recreation Plan (2000) to reduce recreational pressures on riparian and floodplain areas. This includes track rationalisation and wet weather road closures, separation of conflicting uses, improved education and awareness, greater enforcement, rubbish removal, and development and implementation of riverine protection plans for high use areas. 2 Implement priority actions under sections 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) as they apply to the management of recreational pressures at Wallpolla State Forest.

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

3

M3-2 M3-3

3

3 Through the engagement of key Victorian agencies including DSE, DPI and Parks Victoria, the Mallee CMA, in partnership with community stakeholders, will ensure potential threats to Murray Cod stocks and their critical habitat (such as at Lindsay Island) are managed in the development and implementation of the National Recovery Plan for Murray Cod.

M3-6

1

$80,000

Sub Program / Responsibility • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project • River Watch -------------------Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, DSE/DPI, DIP&NR, Local Government, Water Authorities, NSW Waterways, Police, CFA DSE, DPI, MDFRC, MDBC, Fisheries Victoria, Parks Victoria, Angling Groups

Table 6-5

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

99


6.4.7 Management Actions for the M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Cont’d... Aim H - Retain Riparian Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

10 km (300 ha) of work undertaken to protect high value riparian habitat and floodplain 5 km of works undertaken to protect and reinstate high value in-stream habitat Barriers to fish passage addressed (MAT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) 3 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated An increase (or no net decrease) in size, range and number of populations of 4 rare or threatened aquatic, riparian and floodplain species (Murray Cod, Growling Grass Frog, Regent Parrot and Carpet Python) • Increase in river length made accessible to native fish (RCT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) • 2 reach with aquatic life sub-index score of 8 (as measured by ISC) maintained or protected • 5 reaches with an improvement of at least 1 rating in the aquatic life sub-index score (as measured by ISC)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-3

39,40, 43,45, 46,47, 49,53

2

$220,000

40

2

$80,000

2

See cost for Action 1 above

1 Implement actions 13 - 17 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003), and priority actions identified under the Landscape Zone Biodiversity Action Plan for the Murray Scroll Belt, to protect high value floodplain flora and fauna habitat.

2 Implement action 22 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to protect and repair key components of in-stream habitat in the upper Wallpolla Island area. 3 Complete a LCC fauna survey replication, risk analysis and coarse wood load survey for the Murray Scroll Belt, and implement priority actions via the Merbein to SA Border Murray River Frontage Action Plan (2003). 4 Implement sections 3.3 and 3.4 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to manage the habitat of Carpet Python and other threatened flora and fauna in this management zone, in accordance with relevant Action Statements, conservation guidelines, legislation and policies. 5 Investigate opportunities to reinstate snag habitat, to provide refuge for Murray Cod during high flow periods. 6 Complete the regional survey of barriers to fish passage and implement key recommendations (i.e. removal or modification of barriers) at priority reaches.

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

39,40, 43,45, 46,47, 49,53

M3-3 M3-5 M3-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

7 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions.

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, DIP&NR

2

2

$110,000

2

To be determined

2

$55,000

Aim I - Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• Works undertaken to enhance 15km (1,000 ha) of degraded riparian habitat and floodplainand improve one measure of ISC condition. • 33km of river (ISC reach), (660 hectares of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim I management actions to contribute 35% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1 Implement actions 18- 20 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003) to address and restore riparian and floodplain degradation caused by weeds, scalding and erosion (e.g. undertake water ponding rehabilitation works). 2 Implement actions 2 - 3 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to identify and prioritise existing erosion sites along the Murray and implement appropriate erosion stabilisation works. 3 Trial the implementation of the Frontage Management Grants Program to provide incentives to support the above actions.

M3-3 M3-5

3

$325,000

4 Implement action 21 of the Merbein to SA Border FAP (2003) to restore degradation caused by drainage outfalls. In particular, investigate options to redirect drainage water away from the Yelta Floodplain, and undertake rehabilitation works. 5 Through the engagement of key Victorian agencies; DPI, DSE, Parks Victoria and the Mallee CMA and other key stakeholders, develop and implement an agreed process to investigate opportunities to reinstate displaced species in high environmental value areas, including a trial for the reintroduction of Murray Cray in Mullaroo Creek.

M3-1

39,40, 49,51, 31 39,40, 49,51, 31 39,40, 49,51, 31 11

2

$165,000

M3-6

29

2

$135,000

Table 6-5

100

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M3-3 M3-5 M3-3 M3-5

3

3

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, Mallee CMA, MDBC, MDFRC, LMW


Aim J - Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or adjoining Waterways 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Best management practice/ development guidelines and planning provisions for the Murray River reviewed and updated • Priority actions implemented to reduce the risk and damage of floods in accordance with the Mallee Floodplain Strategy (Mallee CMA 2001) • New development and use of land within or adjacent to wetlands and waterways compatible with surrounding scenic, cultural and environmental riparian values • No net increase in flood risk and cost of damage from floods

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement action 27 of the Mallee Waterway Management Strategy (2001) to address the impacts of rural drainage for new irrigation developments. 2 Review the Mildura Planning Scheme; support the ongoing use and review of best management practice guidelines in order to guide appropriate use and development of land within the floodplain or adjoining waterways of the Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion. 3 Implement priority actions under the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy (2001) to protect the values of the Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion, and reduce the impacts of floods to life, safety and property.

M3-1 M3-6 M3-1 M3-6

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1 1

To be determined $40,000

1

$135,000

16 16

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

Sub Program / Responsibility MRCC, LMW, Mallee CMA MRCC, Mallee CMA, LMW, Parks Victoria, DSE, NSW authorities Mallee CMA, MRCC, SES, DSE

Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 10 priority studies and plans (ecological investigations, research, surveys and monitoring programs) undertaken to improve information on baseline conditions and to review and revise management actions and targets • Improved knowledge and baseline information on river health (condition, values and threats) to inform development and/or refinement of priority management responses and corresponding resource condition targets

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Utilise the outcomes of monitoring programs, new survey and research findings and revisions to Government policy to review and revise management actions for this bioregion.

2 Include Potterwalkagee Creek in a regional assessment of barriers to fish passage in the Mallee CMA region. 3 Undertake targeted surveys of fish species, other aquatic vertebrates, and macro and micro invertebrates (across various age classes), to address knowledge gaps and assist with future priority setting; and to benchmark responsiveness to river management activities. 4 Trial the use of a fish diary to inform aquatic surveys. 5 Acquire data or undertake investigations to determine the conservation status of data deficient EVC’s. 6 Undertake a survey of the distribution and status of Growling Grass Frog in the Mallee region. 7 Examine the habitat requirements and suitability for Murray Cod at Mullaroo Creek through bioenergetics analysis. 8 Examine the negative impacts of installing wetland and anabranch regulator structures at Horseshoe and Webster’s Lagoons (with a focus on impacts to native/exotic fish and native turtle movement). 9 Complete the development of a Wetland Prioritisation study and Regional Wetland Strategy to guide investment and management of wetlands within the Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion. 10 Develop a condition-assessment program for priority wetlands in Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion using the Index of Wetland Condition (IWC), a rapid assessment tool under development by DSE. Incorporate this assessment into the Mallee Regional Catchment Condition report 11 Investigate opportunities to fill current data gaps within the RiVERS database 12 Utilise completed Digital Elevation Model and Hydraulic Model of Lindsay, Wallpolla and Mulcra Islands to inform flow behaviour investigations and the development of water management options at these sites. 13 Undertake an investigation of long-term environmental management options at Lake Hawthorn to ensure the survival of the Murray Hardyhead population. 14 Develop riverine protection plans for FAP targeted work sites at priority reaches and management zones.

Cont’d...

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-5

Reach

31

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

M3-6 M3-6 M3-3

26, 29, 30 28 11

M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

M3-6 M3-3 M3-5 M3-1

11

M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 Cont’d...

Cont’d...

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$35,000

2

$10,000

2

$75,000

3 4

$20,000 $25,000

3

$40,000

1

$210,000

2

$280,000

1

$30,000

2

$65,000

2 1

$40,000 $90,000

1

$180,000

2

$250,000

Cont’d...

Cont’d...

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Environmental Flows Program • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, MDFRC, DSE, DIP&NR, MDBC, Parks Victoria

Cont’d...

Table 6-5

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

101


6.4.7 Management Actions for the M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Cont’d... Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps Cont’d... Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Cont’d...

Cont’d...

Cont’d...

Cont’d...

Cont’d...

2

$15,000

2

$30,000

3 2

Still to be determined as part of the Mallee Wetland Strategy $30,000 $20,000

15 Identify opportunities to utilise existing or planned water diversion infrastructure to deliver environmental flows.

M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-3 M3-4 M3-5 M3-6

16 Investigate and trial the use infrared aerial photography to monitor floodplain and riparian health. 17 Undertake mapping of new Wetland EVCs. 18 Develop a wetland-monitoring program to facilitate adaptive management of priority wetlands.

19 Undertake a survey of in-stream coarse woody debris in the Murray Scroll Belt. 20 Investigate impacts of unregulated firewood collection on floodplain habitat availablility and use.

2 3

Sub Program / Responsibility Cont’d...

• Mallee Environmental Flows Program • Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, MDFRC, DSE, DIP&NR, MDBC, Parks Victoria

Aim L - Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 5 community/ school groups actively involved in Waterwatch community monitoring and/or river health management activities • 7 community events to improve community awareness of river health issues • Increase unprompted community awareness of river health issues from 27% (Quantum 2002) to 35%

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Through the Mallee Waterwatch Program, the Frontage Action Plan Education and Awareness Program, and River Watch, develop education and awareness materials, activities and media for local community groups, schools and visitors to the area. 2 Work in partnership with MDFRC, MDBC, DSE and Parks Victoria to develop a targeted river health education program focussing on raising awareness of key environmental assets and threats to the Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion, and communicating the complex environmental benefits of improved river health and water management at the Living Murray ‘icon sites’.

Reach

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$290,000

1

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Waterwatch Program, • FAP Education and Awareness Program • River Watch -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, MDFRC, Parks Victoria

Aim M - Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Works undertaken to protect and manage 20 cultural heritage sites through fencing and erosion control works • 1 set of education materials developed and distributed to community members to promote awareness of cultural heritage values in riparian and floodplain areas • 20 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites protected and managed on the floodplain.

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement actions 22 - 24 of the Merbein to SA Border Frontage Action Plan (2003), management strategies under Section 3.6.1 of the Mallee Parks MP (1996), and Actions under chapter 8 of the Forest Management Plan (2004) to protect endangered sites, manage degraded sites and implement cultural heritage awareness activities in floodplain and riparian areas. 2 Involving all regulatory bodies, develop protocols for consultation and engagement with indigenous groups regarding site assessments and protection.

Table 6-5

102

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$180,000

1

Sub Program / Responsibility Murray River Frontage Action Plan Project -------------------Mallee CMA, DSE, NWRACH, Parks Victoria


6.4.8 Management Action Priorities for the M3 Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion Priority of action within management zone Management Zone

1

2

3

4

M3-1

A6, A7, A10, B1, B2, B3, D1, D2, D3, J1, J2, J3, K1, K9, K13, L2, M1, M2

A11, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H3, H4, H5, H7, I4, K3, K10, K11, K14, K15, K16, K18, K19, L1

F1, G1, K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

M3-2

A6, A10, B1, B3, C1, C3, D1, D3, J3, K1, K9, L2, M1, M2

A11, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H3, H4, H5, H7, K3, K10, K11, K14, K15, K16, K18, K19, L1

F1, G1, G2 K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

M3-3

A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, A9, A10, B1, B3, B4, C2, C3, D1, D3, J3, K1, K9, K12, L2, M1, M2

A8, E1, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K3, K8, K10, K11, K16, K18, K19, L1

F1, G1, G2, I1, I2, I3 K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

M3-4

A6, A10, B1, B3, C1, C3, J3, K1, K9, L2, M1, M2

A11, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H3, H4, H5, H7, K3, K10, K11, K14, K15, K16, K18, K19, L1

G1, K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

M3-5

A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A9, A10, B1, B3, C1, C3, J3, K1, K9, K12, L2, M1, M2

A8, A11, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K2, K3, K10, K11, K14, K15, K16, K18, K19, L1

G1, I1, I2, I3, K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

M3-6

A1, A3, A4, A5, A9, A10, B1, B3, C1, C3, D1, D3, G3, J1, J2, J3, K1, K7, K8, K12, L2, M1, M2

A8, A11, E1, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, H1, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, K3, I5, K7, K8, K10, K11, K14, K15, K18, K19, L1, L2

F1, G1, K4, K6, K17, K20

K5

Table 6-6

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

103


6.5 M4 Murray Mallee Bioregion 6.5.1 M4-1 Tyrrell Creek Management Zone Avoca Basin No. 8

104

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Mallee

Tyrrell Creek - Reach 23, 34


1

Description

3

Tyrrell Creek is split between the boundaries of the North Central CMA and Mallee CMA regions and is an unregulated effluent of the Avoca River. The creek carries flood overflows from the Avoca River near Teddywaddy and extends 37 km through the North Central CMA region before crossing the Donald-Swan Hill Road and entering the Mallee CMA region. Tyrrell Creek forms an incised depression surrounded by higher land. Hydrological studies undertaken by the North Central CMA suggest that flows down Tyrrell Creek have been reduced from the natural pattern of flow (pers. comm. G.Hall 2004).

The management aims identified for M4-1 include; A C E H

Within the Mallee CMA region, Tyrrell Creek has been divided into two reaches totalling 81 km in length. The lower of these reaches (Reach 24) outfalls into a saline lake, Lake Tyrrell. Lake Tyrrell and Tyrrell Creek have significant ecological values and are listed as wetlands of national significance in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (EA 2001). The creek provides important habitat for Carpet Python (Morelia spilota Metcalfei) and the Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) (CEM 2003d), and during high flows links with the Avoca River, providing fish and macroinvertebrate movement along the creek. Deep holes along the creek have provided refuge during low flows (ID&A 1998). During floods, the Tyrrell Creek also supports a number of Victorian rare and threatened waterbirds, including Hardhead (Aythya australis) and Musk Duck (Biziura lobata). The creek also provides an important wildlife corridor through an otherwise cleared landscaped and contains a number of depleted (D), endangered (E) and vulnerable (V) EVCs, including Riverine chenopod woodland (D), Lignum swampy woodland (D), Plains grassland (E), Plains woodland (E) and Semi-arid woodland (V) (VWMF 2004).

Management Aims

I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing contain and reduce pest plants and animals retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

The major management issues identified for the creek include restrictions on flows from channel modification (levees) and encroaching agricultural landuse (from grazing and cropping) and its impacts to riparian vegetation (ID&A 1998). 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Tyrrell Creek

23

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Tyrrell Creek

24

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include loss of instream habitat, bed stability, channel modification, degraded riparian vegetation and loss of wetland connectivity. Management issues identified in the Avoca River Health Strategy (ID&A 1998) include the impacts of grazing, and restrictions on flows from channel modification (levees). Key assets include significant flora (e.g. Buloke (Reach 23), Pale Spike-sedge (Reach 24)), and fauna (e.g. Regent Parrot, Bush Stone Curlew), endangered vegetation communities, a rare type of wetland (Lake Tyrrell), and recreation, however the risk remains low to medium in this management zone.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

105


6.5.2 M4-2 Lalbert Creek Management Zone Avoca Basin No. 8

106

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Mallee

Lalbert Creek - Reach 21, 22


1

Description

3

Lalbert Creek is an effluent stream that carries high flows from the Avoca River, downstream of Bunguluke. The creek extends 60 km through the North Central CMA region before outfalling into Lake Lalbert, 3 km east of the Lalbert Township. Downstream of Lake Lalbert, Lalbert Creek enters the Mallee CMA region and continues on for a further 65 km to outfall into Lake Timboram. Flows in Lalbert Creek occur every two to three years, however, the last major flood was in 1996. Hydrological studies undertaken by the North Central CMA suggest that flows down Lalbert Creek have been reduced from the natural pattern of flow (pers. comm. G.Hall, 2004). Lalbert Creek forms a shallow depression that cuts through a wide active riverine floodplain. There are numerous large levee banks bordering the creek between Lakes Lalbert and Timboram, which have had the effect of channelling flows to Lake Timboram (NCCMA 2005). The assessment of potentially Ecologically Healthy Rivers for the Mallee region identified both reaches of Lalbert Creek as the second highest attainment. The creek failed to meet ecologically healthy criteria for width of riparian vegetation, channel modification, loss of instream habitat, wetland connectivity and groundwater. Despite this, the creek has significant ecological values and is listed as a wetland of national significance in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (EA 2001). The creek provides important habitat for Carpet Python (CEM 2003d), and during high flows links with the Avoca River providing fish and macro invertebrate movement along the creek. Deep holes along the creek provide refuge during low flows (ID&A 1998). The creek also provides an important wildlife corridor through an otherwise cleared landscaped, and contains a number of depleted (D), endangered (E) and vulnerable (V) EVCs, including Riverine chenopod woodland (D), Lignum swampy woodland (D), Plains grassland (E), Plains savannah (E) and Lignum wetland (V) (VWMF 2004).

Management Aims

The management aims identified for M4-2 include; A C E H I J K L M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impact of grazing contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural heritage sites

Within the North Central CMA region, salinity was identified as a major threat to plants and aquatic life both in and alongside the creek and within Lake Lalbert. Nutrients and sediments entering the creek in runoff from surrounding land were also identified as a high threat and can affect water quality along the effluent creek in times of high flows from the Avoca River. The major management issues identified for the creek include restrictions on flows from channel modification (levees), and encroaching agricultural landuse (from grazing and cropping), which impacts riparian vegetation (ID&A 1998). Reach 21 of Lalbert Creek is a target reach for ecological health. It is one of the reaches closest to satisfying the criteria for ecological health in the Mallee region. Lalbert Creek did not score priority 1 in the geographical scoring of management zones, but has been designated a priority in order to meet the Victorian River Health Strategy requirement of attaining at least one reach considered ecologically healthy in each river system. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

LalbertCreek

21

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Lalbert Creek

22

Moderate

Low

Moderate

Moderate

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include loss of instream habitat, channel modification from levee banking, groundwater and saline inflows, loss of wetland connectivity, and degraded riparian vegetation (Reach 21). Management issues identified in the Avoca River Health Strategy (ID&A 1998) include the impacts of grazing, and restrictions on flows from channel modification (levees). Key assets include significant fauna (e.g. Hooded Robin (Reach 21), Carpet Python (Reach 22)), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, significant wetlands, sites of significance and recreation; however risk remains low to medium in this area.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

107


6.5.3 M4-3 Yarriambiack Creek Management Zone Wimmera Basin No. 15

108

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Murray Mallee

Yarriambiack Creek - Reach 24


1

Description

3

Management Aims

Yarriambiack Creek is a natural distributary of the Wimmera River. The creek diverges from the Wimmera River at Longerenong and extends 120 km in a northerly direction to outfall into Lake Corrong south-east of Hopetoun, and in high flows to Lake Lascelles to the east of the township (KBR 2004). During major flow events the creek has flowed to a series of outlying wetlands to the north of the town. Most of the Yarriambiack Creek is within the Wimmera CMA Region. Reach 24 (downstream and north of Galaquil West Road) lies within the Mallee CMA and incorporates a 43 km stretch of the creek.

The management aims identified for M4-3 include;

The Yarriambiack Creek Corridor has substantial riparian vegetation and now provides a valuable link for native flora and fauna in an area that has been largely cleared for agriculture. The creek provides habitat for the Growling Grass Frog (Litoria reniformis) (CEM 2003d) and contains a number of depleted (D) and endangered (E) EVCs, including Riverine chenopod woodland (D), Lignum swampy woodland (D) and Plains savannah (E) (VWMF 2004). During high flows Lake Corrong supports a number of significant waterbird species including Great Egret, Musk Duck, Hardhead, Blue-billed Duck and Glossy Ibis (CEM 2003d).

E

The creek has a long history of flow regulation and channel modification (deepening, weirs, levees) since the mid-1800’s. More recently, the flows within the creek have been altered by the Wimmera Mallee Stock and Domestic Supply System. Lake Corrong is expected to have experienced a significant decline in flood frequency and magnitude, and the River Red Gums and Black Box communities in Lake Corrong are now exhibiting signs of dieback and decline (KBR 2004).

A C D

G H I J K L M

2

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity reduce the impacts of grazing protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals manage the impact of recreation on river health retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation guide appropriate use and development of land on floodplains or adjoining waterways address knowledge gaps improve knowledge and awareness of river health protect and manage significant cultural sites

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Yarriambiack Creek

24

Moderate

High

High

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats Moderate

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include algal blooms, loss of instream habitat, channel modification, wetland connectivity, pest animals (rabbits, foxes, carp), and impacts to riparian vegetation from recreation and grazing. Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan (KBR 2004) also identified protection and management of significant cultural sites as a key management issue. Key assets include significant flora (e.g. Hoary Scurf-pea, Cane Grass) and fauna (e.g. Growling Grass Frog), endangered vegetation communities, and rare types of wetlands (Lake Corrong and Lake Lascelles). Other assets under threat include recreation, tourism and water supply. Reach 24 is identified as a high value reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

109


6.5.4 Management Actions for the M4 Murray Mallee Bioregion Aim A - Improve Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 3 waterways with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes (lower Yarriambiack, Lalbert and Tyrrell Creeks) • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 1 high value reach (Yarriambiack Creek Reach 24)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M4-1 M4-2

2

$85,000

M4-1 M4-2

2

$110,000

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

3

$50,000

1

$55,000

M4-3

3

$85,000

Mgt Zone

1 Work with North Central CMA to examine the water requirements of Lakes Lalbert and Timboram, including quantifying current flows to the lakes, the effect of current flows on habitat, and the water regime required for key habitats within the lakes. 2 Under the framework of the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future, work with the North Central CMA to protect the natural hydrology of the Avoca catchment through the identification and implementation of variable flow components. 3 Investigate the impact of levee banks on riparian vegetation health between Lakes Lalbert and Timboram. 4 Under the framework of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline project and the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future, implement action 10.8.5 of the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004) to investigate the ecological values and environmental water requirements of Lake Corrong and Lascelles; and work with Wimmera CMA to investigate and implement available water management options. 5 Investigate the hydrology of Dunmunkle Creek and identify and map its channel and flow path during flood events.

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA, GWMW

Aim C - Reduce the Impacts of Grazing 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • •

1,000 ha of riparian or floodplain land under management agreements 60 km of riparian land (ISC reaches) fenced to remove stock impacts 3 demonstration sites established and actively monitored 30 km of river (ISC reach), (600 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim C management actions to contribute 40% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement priority actions under 12.6 of the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004), and 5.6.5 and 5.7.5 of the Avoca River Health Strategy (1998), to develop and implement a riparian grants and targeted works program (e.g. fencing, revegetation, exclusion plots) to protect and enhance riparian values along the Tyrrell, Lalbert and Yarriambiack Creeks. 2 Establish best practice demonstration sites and accompanying monitoring sites at Yarriambiack, Lalbert and Tyrrell Creeks to monitor the effectiveness of riparian management intervention.

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$550,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Mallee Landcare

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Aim D - Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Sediment and nutrient input to the Yarriambiack Creek decreased by treating stormwater outfalls, and through improved riparian management and protection • Undertake feasibility investigations of algal bloom mitigation works such as drawdowns, flows required for flushing events, aeration and shading • SEPP water quality sites and targets established by 2007 to monitor water quality in the southern effluents and attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives • Incidence of algal blooms reduced during risk period (October – April) from 1991 levels (WCMA 2002) • No net increase in Nitrogen and Phosphorus inputs to the creek during times of flow

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Work with Wimmera CMA to implement priority actions identified by the 2002 Wimmera Water Quality Strategy (WWQS) and 2003 draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VSWQMP) to reduce nutrient inflows to Yarriambiack Creek. Actions involve improved riparian management and protection and support for the implementation of the 2002 Wimmera Region Urban Stormwater Management Plan.

Table 6-7

110

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M4-3

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$150,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, YSC, Wimmera CMA, EPA


Aim E - Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 20 km of river (200 ha of floodplain) subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control • 30 km of river (ISC reach), (600 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim E management actions to contribute 20% to RCT)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Coordinate long-term weed control programs for Mallee priority weeds and controlled weeds on riparian and floodplain areas under the Mallee Weed Action Plan. 2 Coordinate long-term control programs for rabbits in the riparian zone under the Rabbit Management Action Plan. 3 Develop other action plans as needed for priority pest animals on riparian and floodplain areas. 4 Determine priority aquatic pest plants and animals, including invasive and problem native plants. 5 Implement priority aquatic pest plant and animal control works.

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

3

$175,000

3 3

N/A

4

$10,000

4

To be determined in response to action E4

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Mallee Landcare

DPI, Mallee CMA M4-1 M4-2 M4-3 M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Aim G - Manage the Impact of Recreation on River Health 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• 10 km of river (100 ha) subjected to improved recreation management • 2 education materials/media products developed and distributed to community members to increase community awareness of negative recreational impacts to river health • 30 km of river (ISC reach), (600 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim G management actions to contribute 10% to RCT)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M4-3

2

$125,000

Mallee CMA, YSC

M4-3

2

$60,000

Wimmera CMA, Mallee CMA, YSC, Mallee Landcare

Mgt Zone

1 Implement action 13.3.2 of the Yarriambiack Creek MP to ensure the impact of recreational vehicle use on the creek bed and riparian zones is minimised. 2 Work with Wimmera CMA to implement actions under section 9 of the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004) to develop a recreational walking trail, and river health awareness and interpretive information and material.

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility

Aim H - Retain Riparian Vegetation and Protect High Value Flora and Fauna Habitat 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• • • • •

2 km (50 ha) of work undertaken to protect high value riparian habitat and floodplain 3 km of works undertaken to protect and reinstate high value in-stream habitat Barriers to fish passage addressed (MAT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) 1 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated An increase (or no net decrease) in size, range and number of populations of one rare or threatened aquatic, riparian and floodplain species (Carpet Python) • Increase in river length made accessible to native fish (RCT to be refined on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage)

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement priority actions under section 12 and 13 of the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004) and 5.6.5 and 5.7.5 of the Avoca River Health Strategy (1998) to protect and enhance riparian and in-stream values along the Tyrrell, Lalbert and Yarriambiack Creeks.

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$175,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA, Mallee Landcare

Table 6-7

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

111


6.5.4 Management Actions for the M4 Murray Mallee Bioregion Cont’d... Aim I - Restore Degraded Frontages and Quality and Extent of Riparian Vegetation 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• Works undertaken to enhance 5 km of river (300 ha) of degraded habitat and floodplain and improve one measure of ISC • 30 km of river (ISC reach), (600 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition (Aim I management actions to contribute 30% to RCT)

Actions

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M4-2

2

$185,000

M4-1 M4-3

2

Mgt Zone

1 Protect and enhance native vegetation on Tyrrell Creek to enhance habitat for significant fauna species. 2 Survey Yarriambiack Creek and Lalbert Creek to map significant vegetation and habitat areas, and develop and implement actions for targeted management, including weed control at significant sites.

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Mallee Landcare Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA, Mallee Landcare

Aim J - Guide Appropriate Use and Development of Land on Floodplains or adjoining Waterways 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• Priority actions implemented to reduce the risk and damage of floods in accordance with the Mallee Floodplain Strategy (Mallee CMA 2001) • No net increase in flood risk and cost of damage from floods

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Implement priority actions under the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy (2001) to protect the values of the Murray Mallee Bioregion, and reduce the impacts of floods to life, safety and property.

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$155,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA, YSC, BSC SES, DSE, GWMW

Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 6 priority studies and plans (ecological investigations, research, surveys and monitoring programs) undertaken to improve information on baseline conditions and to review and revise management actions and targets • Improved knowledge and baseline information on river health (condition, values and threats) to inform development and/or refinement of priority management responses and corresponding resource condition targets

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Utilise the outcomes of monitoring programs, new survey and research findings, and revisions to Government policy, to review and revise management actions for this bioregion. 2 In conjunction with Wimmera CMA, North Central CMA, and DSE, acquire a Digital Elevation Model of the creek systems within this management zone (including Dunmunkle Creek) to better understand flood behaviour and water movement in this area, and to inform water management studies (such as the Lower Avoca Hydrological Study). 3 Include Lalbert, Tyrrell and Yarriambiack Creeks in a regional assessment of barriers to fish passage in the Mallee CMA region. 4 In accordance with data gaps identified in the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004) - section 12 and Avoca River Health Strategy (1998), undertake a survey of riparian flora and fauna in the Yarriambiack, Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks, to identify critical habitat, and inform ongoing riparian protection and enhancement works. 5 In accordance with data gaps identified in the Yarriambiack Creek MP (2004) - action 13.3.5 and Avoca River Health Strategy (1998), undertake a survey of aquatic fauna in the Yarriambiack, Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks during active creek flows 6 Investigate opportunities to fill current data gaps within the RiVERS database. 7 In accordance with action 4 of the Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy (2001), develop and implement waterway action plans for Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks. 8 Investigate and trial the use infrared aerial photography to monitor floodplain and riparian health. 9 Undertake mapping of new Wetland EVCs. 10 Develop a wetland-monitoring program to facilitate adaptive management of priority wetlands.

11 Under the framework of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline project, investigate the allocation of environmental water to off-stream water bodies in the southern Mallee region.

Table 6-7

112

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

M4-1 M4-2 M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Reach

Sub Program / Responsibility

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$20,000

Mallee CMA

2

$100,000

Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA

1

$10,000

Mallee CMA

1

$35,000

Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, NCCMA

3

$90,000

Mallee CMA

2 2

$35,000 $60,000

Mallee CMA Mallee CMA, NCCMA

2

$15,000

3 2

Still to be determined as part of the Mallee Wetland Strategy $50,000

2


Aim L - Improve Knowledge and Awareness of River Health • 10 community/ school groups actively involved in Waterwatch community monitoring and/or river health management activities • 8 community events/ activities held to improve community awareness of river health issues • Increase unprompted community awareness of river health issues from 27% (Quantum 2002) to 35%

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Through the Mallee Waterwatch Program and Wimmera Community Waterwatch, and the Southern Mallee, South Eastern Mallee and Western Murray Landcare Networks, develop river health education and awareness materials and media for local community groups, schools and visitors to the Tyrrell, Lalbert and Yarriambiack Creek areas. 2 Utilise the Demonstration Sites on Lalbert, Tyrrell and Yarriambiack Creeks to encourage the adoption of best practice techniques for riparian management.

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

2

$250,000

2

Sub Program / Responsibility • Mallee Waterwatch Program, • Wimmera Community Waterwatch • Mallee Landcare -------------------Mallee CMA, Wimmera CMA, Mallee Landcare

Aim M - Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites • Works undertaken to protect and manage 10 cultural heritage sites through fencing and erosion control works • 2 education materials developed and distributed to community members to promote awareness of cultural heritage values in riparian and floodplain areas • 10 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites on the floodplain protected and managed

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Mgt Zone

1 Identify, protect and where appropriate, interpret culturally significant floodplain and riparian sites, in consultation with the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative, Wotjobaluk Traditional Land Council and the North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage program 2 Involving all regulatory bodies, develop protocols for consultation and engagement with indigenous groups regarding site assessments and protection.

Reach

M4-1 M4-2 M4-3

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

1

$100,000

1

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative, Wotjobaluk Traditional Land Council, NWRACH

Table 6-7

6.5.5 Management Actions Priorities for the M4 Murray Mallee Bioregion Priority of action within management zone

Management Zone

1

2

3

4

M4-1

K3, K4, M1, M2, J1

A1, A2, C1, C2, H1, I1, I2, K1, K2, K6, K7, K8, K9, K10, K11, L1, L2

A3, E1, E2, E3, K5, K14

E4, E5

M4-2

K3, K4, M1, M2, J1

A1, A2, C1, C2, H1, I1, I2, K1, K2, K6, K7, K8, K9, K10, K11, L1, L2

A3, E1, E2, E3, K5, K14

E4, E5

M4-3

A4, D1, K3, K4, M1, M2, J1

C1, C2, G1, G2, H1, I1, I2, K1, K2, K6, K8, K9, K10, K11, L1, L2

A5, E1, E2, E3, K5, K14

E4, E5

Table 6-8

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

113


6.6 M5 Lowan Mallee Bioregion 6.6.1 M5-1 Outlet Creek (Wimmera River) Management Zone Wimmera Basin No:14

114

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

Bioregion - Lowan Mallee

Outlet Creek - Reach 91


1

Description

3

Outlet Creek forms part of the Wimmera River system. The Wimmera River runs into Lake Hindmarsh which outflows into Outlet Creek and into Lake Albacutya. Lake Albacutya can then overflow in extremely wet years into the continuation of Outlet Creek, where it dissipates into the wetlands of the Wirrengren Plains. The Mallee CMA region includes approximately 67 km of Outlet Creek downstream of Lake Albacutya.

The management aims identified for M5-1 include; A D

Lake Albacutya and the downstream section of Outlet Creek are contained within Lake Albacutya Park and Wyperfeld National Park respectively. Outlet Creek has been determined as having high environmental values, as it is located within a National Park, and is connected to Lake Albacutya, a Ramsar listed wetland. The flow variability of the Wimmera system, and the diversion of water for the Wimmera-Mallee stock and domestic supply system, has reduced volumes and frequencies of inflows into the terminal lakes system. Current studies suggest that under regulated conditions, flows beyond Lake Albacutya have altered from 1 in 20 years to 1 in 100 years (SKM 2002b). The section of the Outlet Creek downstream of Wonga Lake has not flooded since 1920 (DNRE 1996). The observed die back and decline of River Red Gum and Black Box stands in the lower Wimmera system is considered a symptom of the reduced magnitude and frequency of floods, and associated rising groundwater (DNRE 1996).

Management Aims

E K M

improved environmental water reserve and connectivity protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals address knowledge gaps protect and manage significant cultural sites

A section of the Wimmera River downstream from Polkement Bridge to the Wirrengren Plain in Wyperfeld National Park (incorporating the Wimmera River, Lakes Hindmarsh and Albacutya and Outlet Creek) has been classified as a heritage river under the Victorian Heritage Rivers Act 1992. A draft management plan has been prepared for this section of the river. This plan outlines management of sections of the river contained within the Wimmera CMA, which will be addressed in the Wimmera River Health Strategy (currently under development). Outlet Creek is a target reach for ecological health. It is one of the reaches closest to satisfying the criteria for ecological health in the Mallee region. Actions for this management zone include targeting those criteria in which Outlet Creek failed to attain ecological health. 2

RiVERS Values and Threats

Waterway

Reach

Environmental

Social

Economic

Near EHR

LCC Land Classification

Threats

Outlet Creek

91

High

Low

Low

Yes

High

Low

The key threats identified for this management zone from the risk analysis include algal blooms, rising groundwater, pest animals, and loss of wetland connectivity. The other major threat identified for the Outlet Creek system from the Mallee Parks Management Plan (DNRE 1996) is changes in the magnitude and frequency of floods, resulting from regulation in the Wimmera River system. Protection and management of significant cultural sites has been identified as a management issue. Key assets include significant flora (e.g. Finger-leaved Daisy, Grey Podolepis) and fauna (e.g. Regent Parrot, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo), vulnerable and endangered vegetation communities, rare and significant wetlands (Lake Albacutya and wetlands of the Outlet Creek system), and tourism. Reach 91 is identified as a high value reach within this strategy.

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

115


6.6.2 Management Actions for the M5 Lowan Mallee Bioregion Aim A - Improve Environmental Water Reserve and Connectivity 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 1 waterway with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regime (Outlet Creek, Wyperfeld National Park) • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 1 high value reach (Outlet Creek Reach 91)

Actions

1 Implement relevant actions under section 3.2.1 of the Mallee Parks MP (1996) to investigate water table levels, surface flows and water requirements of flood dependent flora and fauna in the Outlet Creek system, and contribute to the Wimmera CMA investigation of the Wimmera Terminal Lakes. 2 Under the framework of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline project and the Govt’s White Paper Our Water Our Future: investigate and implement available water management options in partnership with the Wimmera CMA, in accordance with the recommendations of the Wimmera Terminal Lakes Investigation.

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M5-1

91

2

$95,000

Sub Program / Responsibility Wimmera CMA, Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, water authorities

Aim D - Protect Water Quality and Reduce the Risk of Algal Blooms 5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

• Sediment and nutrient input to the Outlet Creek decreased through improved riparian management and protection • Work with the Wimmera CMA to establish SEPP water quality sites and targets to monitor water quality in the Wimmera River/ Outlet Creek system, and attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives • Incidence of algal blooms reduced during risk period (October – April) from 1991 levels (WCMA 2002)

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

M5-1

91

3

Refer WWQS for detailed 5-year indicative costs

Wimmera CMA, Mallee CMA, GWMW, EPA

1 Work with Wimmera CMA to implement priority actions identified by the 2002 Wimmera Water Quality Strategy (WWQS) to reduce nutrient inflows to the Wimmera River that affect the Outlet Creek system.

Aim E - Contain and Reduce the Impact of Pest Plants and Animals 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 8 km of river (100 ha of floodplain) subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control • 2 km of river (ISC reach), (40 ha of floodplain) with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M5-1

91

3

$40,000

Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria

$30,000

Mallee CMA, DSE, DPI, Parks Victoria DPI

1 Undertake long term weed control programs for Mallee priority weeds and controlled weeds on riparian and floodplain areas of Outlet Creek under the Mallee Weed Action Plan. 2 Undertake long-term control programs for rabbits under the Rabbit Management Action Plan for riparian and floodplain areas of Outlet Creek. 3 Develop other action plans as needed for priority pest animals on riparian and floodplain areas of Outlet Creek.

N/A

Sub Program / Responsibility

Aim K - Address Knowledge Gaps 5-Year MAT’s 10-Year RCT’s

• 2 priority studies and plans (ecological investigations, research, surveys and monitoring programs) undertaken to improve information on baseline conditions and to review and revise management actions and targets • Improved knowledge and baseline information on river health (condition, values and threats) to inform development and/or refinement of priority management responses and corresponding resource condition targets

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

Sub Program / Responsibility

M5-1

91

1

$80,000

Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, Wimmera CMA

$50,000

Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, Wimmera CMA

1 In conjunction with the Wimmera CMA and Parks Victoria, undertake investigation of the Outlet Creek system including: - monitoring of water table levels and surface flows in the event of a flood; and - a survey of aquatic and flood dependent flora and fauna. 2 In conjunction with Parks Victoria and the Wimmera CMA, develop a waterway action plan for Reach 91 for incorporation into the Mallee Parks MP (1996) and the draft Wimmera Heritage River Management Plan.

Table 6-9

116

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006


Aim M - Protect and Manage Significant Cultural Sites • Works undertaken to protect and manage 3 cultural heritage sites through fencing and erosion control works • 1 set of education material developed and distributed to community members to promote awareness of cultural heritage values in riparian and floodplain areas • 3 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites protected and managed

5-Year MAT’s

10-Year RCT’s

Actions

Mgt Zone

Reach

Priority Level

5 Year Indicative Cost

M5-1

91

1

$50,000

1 Identify, protect, and where appropriate, interpret culturally significant sites within riparian areas and the floodplain, in consultation with the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative and Wotjobaluk Traditional Land Council. 2 Involving all regulatory bodies, develop protocols for consultation and engagement with indigenous groups regarding site assessments and protection.

Sub Program / Responsibility Mallee CMA, Parks Victoria, Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative, Wotjobaluk Traditional Land Council

1

Table 6-9

6.6.3 Management Actions Priorities for the M5 Lowan Mallee Bioregion Priority of action within management zone Management Zone

1

2

3

M5-1

K1, K2, M1, M2

A1, A2

D1, E1, E2, E3

4

Table 6-10

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

117


7

Targets and Implementation

Kings Billabong

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7.1 Targets The Mallee CMA has developed targets under this strategy for implementation of the identified management actions and their expected outcomes. The region’s 5-year management action targets, or implementation targets, provide direction and a basis for measuring the achievement of river health ouputs. The 10-year resource condition targets outline the improvement in river health expected should the implementation targets be achieved. These targets also represent the Mallee CMA’s contribution to achieving the State’s river health targets for Victoria as outlined in Section 4.3 of the Victorian River Health Strategy (DNRE 2002). Management action targets and resource condition targets have been developed in Chapter 6 for each Bioregion according to management aim. The overall targets for the Mallee region are outlined below.

7.1.1

Regional 5 Year Implementation Targets

In accordance with the targets framework provided in the VRHS, overall 5-year implementation targets for the Mallee region are outlined below. Number of rivers with negotiated Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes Environmental flow regimes are to be negotiated for: • Murray River; • Avoca River; and • Wimmera River. Of these river systems, environmental flow regimes will also be negotiated for the following 11 waterways (anabranches and distributaries): Lindsay River, Mullaroo Creek, Potterwalkagee Creek, Wallpolla Creek, Chalka Creek, Narcooyia Creek, Burra Creek, Parnee Malloo Creek, and the Lower Yarriambiack, Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks.

Under the Living Murray initiative, an environmental water reserve allocation of 500 GL will be returned to the Murray River system for use along the Murray channel and other icon sites, which include Lindsay, Mulcra and Wallpolla Islands and the Hattah Lakes. These sites are currentlyundergoing hydrologic investigations and complimentary works and measures under the MDBC Living Murray Works and Measures Program. To compliment these investigations, the Mallee CMA is planning to examine the environmental water requirements, flow objectives and available water managementoptions for the Murray River floodplain, anabranches and wetlands, between Nyah and Wallpolla Island. The Wimmera Mallee Bulk Entitlement Conversion project (SKM 2003a) has established an agreed environmental water reserve allocation for the Wimmera River system. The present allocation of approximately 36,000 ML, shared between the Wimmera and Glenelg River systems, is insufficient to deliver the ecological water requirements to the Wimmera River system. In particular, it does not allow the delivery of high flows necessary to overflow Lake Albacutya to Outlet Creek. Negotiations for additional environmental allocations to meet the needs of the Wimmera River System, including Yarriambiack and Outlet Creeks, are continuing as part of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project, and Wimmera and Glenelg River Bulk entitlement process. The North Central CMA is currently developing the: • Upper Avoca Water Resource Management Plan; • Avoca Wetlands Salinity & Water Management Plan; and • Lower Avoca Hydrologic Study. The outcome of these studies will identify water requirements for Tyrrell and Lalbert Creeks. The Mallee CMA will work with the North Central CMA to negotiate improved flow regimes to management zones M4-1 and M4-2. Cont’d...

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Number of rivers with improvements made to the Environmental Water Reserve - environmental flow regimes As a priority under the MDBC Living Murray Initiative, improved flow regimes are expected for the icon sites: • Lindsay Island (M3-6) • Hattah Lakes (M2-4) • Mulcra Island (M3-5) • Wallpolla Island (M3-3) Through the Living Murray Initiative, the State’s Murray Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) program and the Mallee CMA’s Environmental Water Reserve Program, it is expected that 6 waterways (rivers, anabranches and distributaries) will have improvements made to the environmental flow regime, including the Murray River, Lindsay River, Mullaroo Creek, Potterwalkagee Creek, Chalka Creek and Wallpolla Creek. As part of the Wimmera/Glenelg Rivers Bulk Entitlement Process, and the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project, improved flow regimes are also expected for the Wimmera River system. Level of reduction in river salinity and floodplain salt storage The draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan provides a range of actions to reduce rising groundwater and river salinity, and to better understand hydrogeological processes in the Murray floodplain; particularly floodplain salt storage. This will involve: • Implementation of regional salt interception works to reduce river salinity by 2.7 EC units by 2005; • No net increases in river salinity resulting from water trade; and • Average irrigation drainage volumes to Murray River and its floodplains being maintained at or below a maximum of one ML per ha per year by 2020. Level of reduction in nutrient loads from priority sources within the catchment The draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan provides a range of actions to reduce overall nutrient loads and other pollutants into waterways within the Mallee region. An important aspect of nutrient management within the Mallee is to reduce the contribution of nutrients from catchment areas to the floodplain and channel of the Murray River by diverting drainage water off the floodplain, treating stormwater outfalls, and through improved riparian management and protection. To measure attainment against SEPP ‘Waters of Victoria’ objectives, the Mallee CMA will work closely with the EPA and neighbouring CMA’s to establish SEPP water quality sites and appropriate targets where possible in Murray River anabranches and southern distributaries. Targets will be based on baseline water quality readings, expected water quality trends and the expected effects on water quality from previous and planned management actions (SKM 2005). Area of riparian land vegetated The extent and quality of riparian and floodplain vegetation will be enhanced over 39 km/2,700 ha of degraded land via erosion control works, water ponding of scalded areas and management of drainage outfalls. In addition, 180 km of river (2,150 ha) will be subjected to improved recreation management and 17 educational/media products/signs will be developed and distributed to increase awareness of the negative impacts of recreation (such as litter, firewood collection and off-road driving) on the riverine environment. The negative impacts of water diversions works on the floodplain and frontage of the Murray will also be managed. This will involve: • 50% of disused pumpsites removed; • Appropriate areas identified for future pumpsite locations; and

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• 50% of existing and 100% of new pumpsites complying with relevant siting and design guidelines. Length of river protected • 130 km of riparian land fenced to reduce the impacts of grazing; • 22 km (550 ha) of works undertaken to protect high value riparian habitat and floodplain; and • 13 km of works undertaken to protect and reinstate high value in-stream habitat. Area of riparian land under management agreements Riparian management agreements will be developed through the preparation of site management plans with Crown Water Frontage licence holders, adjoining landholders, community groups (e.g. Landcare and schools) and public land managers. Site management plans and corresponding management agreements will be targeted to protect 1,600 ha of riparian land. Six demonstration sites, (which include the three established Murray River Frontage Action Plan Demonstration Sites) will also be maintained or established, and actively monitored. Length of river subject to riparian pest animal and weed control The Mallee Weed Action Strategy requires all known infestations of new and emerging weeds to be treated by 2007. It further establishes the objective of treating all infestations of regionally controlled weeds by 2007. The priorities for pest plant and animal control identified within this strategy are linked to reaches with fauna species of International or National significance, or listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Based on this criterion 113 km of river (1,550 ha of floodplain) will be subjected to riparian pest plant and animal control. Number of barriers where fish passage is to be restored To be developed using the following criteria: • focus on native species of conservation status, in particular Silver Perch; and • reaches identified in RiVERS with barriers to fish passage. (These targets will be revised further on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage) Number of plans to be developed for areas of high social value Riverine Protection Plans are expected to be developed for the following areas: • Kings Billabong; • Mildura Weir Pool; • Merbein Common; and • Robinvale and Euston Weir Pool. Specific action plans and studies to be developed 32 priority action plans and studies are identified within the management actions to fill key knowledge gaps or to address priority management zones and reaches at the appropriate management scale. River Health Education and Awareness Through the Mallee Waterwatch Program, River Watch Program, Frontage Action Plan Education and Awareness Program and other regional community awareness programs, it is planned that 35 community events will be held and 50 school and community groups will be involved in Waterwatch community monitoring and/or river health management activities. Cultural Site Protection and Awareness Undertaken in conjunction with river health management actions, 55 endangered historical, cultural or archaeological sites will be targeted for protection and management. 8 education materials are also planned to be developed and distributed to community members, promoting awareness of cultural heritage values in riparian and floodplain areas.


Vegetation response to emergency River Red Gum watering trials (May 2005).

7.1.2

10 Year Resource Condition Targets

The Victorian RHS provides a framework for 10-year resource condition targets to be achieved through the Mallee RHS. These are shown below.

10 Year Resource Condition Target Criteria

10 Year Target

Length of river in excellent or good condition (as measured by ISC1). Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and number of high value reaches where improved flow regimes achieve environmental flow objectives.

• 5 river reaches (125 km) in excellent or good condition • No decline in reach condition (as measured by ISC1) • Establishment of Environmental Water Reserve and improved flow regimes achieving environmental flow objectives in 16 high value reaches • Flow objectives delivered at MDBC Living Murray “significant ecological assets” sites • River salinity at Morgan maintained at less than 800 EC 95% of time (SKM 2005). • Mean monthly salinity levels at Colignan and Euston Weir to be less than 232 uS/cm and 244 uS/cm respectively (SKM 2005) • Algal counts maintained below alert level in regional weir pools by 2025 (VMSWQMP) • Mean annual Total Nitrogen concentrations at Colignan, Lock 9 to be less than or equal to 0.75mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.75mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual Total Phosphorus concentrations at Euston and Colignan to be less than or equal to 0.1mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.1mg/l (SKM 2005). • Mean annual turbidity values at Wakool Junction and Red Cliffs to be less than or equal to 100 NTU (SKM 2005). • Mean annual NOx concentrations at Euston and Colignan to be less than or equal to 0.04mg/l when the concentration at Swan Hill is 0.04mg/l (SKM 2005). • An increase (or no net decrease) in size, range and number of populations of 5 rare or threatened aquatic, riparian and floodplain species. • 100 km of river (ISC reaches) (2,000 ha) with an improvement of at least 1 rating in riparian condition • Will be determined in 2006 on completion of a regional study examining barriers to fish passage and an investigation of erosion sites along the Murray River. • To be determined. • No net increase in flood risk and cost of damage from floods.

Reduction/improvement in nutrient loads/concentrations at key monitoring sites within catchments2.

Reduction/improvement in salinity loads/concentrations at key monitoring sites within the catchments2.

Reduction/improvement in sediment loads/concentrations at key monitoring sites within the catchments2.

No. of high value environmental assets protected. Length of river protection/improvement in riparian condition (as measured by ISC1) Length of river protection/improvement of physical form subindex (as measured by ISC1) Improved floodplain linkages/functions. Number of high value public assets with appropriate level of protection from flooding. Representative and Ecologically Healthy rivers/reaches in good or excellent condition (as measured by ISC1). Increase in river length made accessible to native fish Length of river where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated Value of Heritage Rivers maintained. % of relevant SEPP (Waters of Victoria) objectives met for key monitoring sites3 Protection/improvement of aquatic life (as measured by ISC1) at key monitoring sites.

• 1 reach in good ISC condition and progressing toward achieving ecologically healthy criteria. • Will be determined in 2006 on completion of a current regional study examining barriers to fish passage. • 7 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated. • All Murray River reaches and Outlet Creek. • SEPP water quality sites and targets are still to be established to monitor attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives for the lowlands of the Wimmera and Avoca Catchments and Murray Basin as they apply to Murray River anabranches and southern distributaries. • 4 reaches with aquatic life sub-index scores ≥8 (as measured by ISC1) maintained or protected. • 8 reaches with an improvement of at least 1 rating in the aquatic life sub-index score (as measured by ISC1).

Notes: 1 ISC refers to the use of the Index of Stream Condition method or suitable alternative method (e.g. for assessing condition in urban streams, estuaries, wetlands) 2 Nutrient and salinity targets established for the Murray River in the Mallee Basin are based on from the NSW Water Quality and River Flow Interim Environmental Objectives, and the MDBC EC targets for Morgan (SKM 2005). 3 SEPP objectives apply to Murray River anabranches and the southern distributaries. SEPP targets have not been set in the Mallee due to the lack of monitoring sites that measure SEPP parameters within the region. The Mallee CMA will work with the EPA to establish SEPP water quality sites and targets for these water bodies by 2007, in order to measure attainment against SEPP Waters of Victoria objectives.

Table 7-1 Regional 10 Year Resource Condition Targets

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7.2 Implementation 7.2.1

White Paper: Our Water Our Future initiative and Victorian Healthy Waterways funding. The Mallee CMA will also explore local funding options and opportunities for collaborative funding from key stakeholders involved in the strategy’s implementation. It is anticipated that substantial in-kind resources will also be provided by individuals, community groups and organisations.

Roles and Responsibilities

Implementation of the Mallee RHS will be coordinated by the Mallee CMA through the Board, its community based Implementation Committees, and its River and Wetland Health Technical Reference Committee. The Mallee CMA will work with key organisations, such as MDBC, Parks Victoria, DSE, DPI, EPA, water authorities, local government, neighbouring CMAs, NSW and SA government agencies, and community groups to implement the actions outlined in this strategy and its sub-action plans. Works programs undertaken in accordance with the strategy will be negotiated between relevant parties to ensure that maximum outcomes can be achieved for the resources invested, and that existing statutory processes are followed. Table 7-2 provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the implementation of the Mallee RHS. Roles and responsibilities for specific actions have been detailed further in the bioregion action tables in Chapter 6.

7.2.2

Resources

Based on the annual Regional Catchment Investment Plan (RCIP) priority setting process, and other annual funding processes, funds will be directed to priority actions (works and activities) and priority management zones and reaches outlined in this strategy. In addition, funds will also be allocated to lower priority management zones and reaches where there is high environmental and community gain for the resources invested, and real community commitment towards long term improvement of river health. The estimated budget over the next 5 years to implement the Mallee RHS is outlined in Table 7-3. Funds to resource implementation of the strategy and its sub-action plans will be sourced from State and Australian Government funding programs, and managed by the Mallee CMA. Potential funding sources include the Living Murray Works and Measures Program, Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP), Victorian Water Trust, Victorian

The overall indicative cost of implementing this regional River Health Strategy is approximately $5,300,000 per year, totalling approximately $26,450,000 over 5 years. (Note this also includes the implementation costs to protect water quality, based on costs identified in the draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (Mallee CMA 2003e)). This indicative cost will fund activities which include on ground works as well as strategic planning, community engagement, regional partnerships and monitoring, evaluation and reporting. A broader program than on ground works is necessary for a successful adaptive river health improvement program informed by good science, and supported by the community and land managers. A range of partners including CMAs, DSE, Parks Victoria, EPA, DPI, MDBC, local government, water authorities and the community are responsible for implementing these activities. The indicative cost of implementation includes works by key stakeholders in the region, and incorporates landholder contributions. Specifically, the indicative cost over 5 years, includes $9,550,000 from Mallee CMA; $5,000,000 from DSE; $2,100,000 from Parks Victoria; $7,500,000 from water authorities (includes role as constructing authority); $1,250,000 from local government; $650,000 from DPI; and $400,000 from landholders. Activities under Aim A “improved environmental water reserve and connectivity” also involve significant funding contributions through the MDBC Living Murray initiative. CMAs, who are the statutory waterway managers and caretakers of river health, are responsible for implementing the bulk of river health activities. River health related activities undertaken by other agencies such as water authorities, DPI, DSE, Parks Victoria, local government and associated costs have been identified and documented wherever possible. Implementation of other action plans and sub-strategies under the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy also contribute to river health outcomes, but are not directly costed or implemented under this strategy.

Implementation Activity

Role Coordination and Planning

Onground Management and Works

Approvals and Enforcement

Research and Investigations

Communication and Education

Monitoring and Evaluation

Full Responsibility

Mallee CMA

Parks Victoria, DSE, Mallee CMA

Parks Victoria, DSE, Mallee CMA

Mallee CMA, DSE

Mallee CMA, Mallee Waterwatch

Mallee CMA

Substantial Participation

DSE, MDBC, Parks Victoria, Water authorities

Water authorities, Community groups, Mallee Landcare and landholders

Local Government, Water authorities

MDFRC, DPI, Parks Victoria, MDBC

DSE, River Watch, Parks Victoria, Schools

DSE, MDBC, MDFRC

Minor Participation

DPI, Local Government, Community groups

Local Government

NWRACH, Police, EPA

Neighbouring CMAs, SA and NSW Govt agencies, EPA

Community groups

Community groups, EPA

Table 7-2 Overall Roles and Responsibilities

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Bioregion Aim

M1 ($,000)

M2 ($,000)

M3 ($,000)

M4 ($,000)

M5 ($,000)

TOTAL ($,000)

A improve environmental water flows and connectivity*

1,750

3,475

5,245

385

95

10,950

B manage rising saline groundwater and river salinity

Refer to the 2003 Draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (VMSWQMP) for detailed 5-year indicative costs.

C reduce the impacts of grazing

180

155

150

550

1,035

D protect water quality and reduce the risk of algal blooms

450

1,150

350

150

2,100

E contain and reduce the impact of pest plants and animals

95

200

205

185

F reduce the impact of current and future water diversion infrastructure

210

240

135

G manage the impacts of recreation on river health

190

435

355

185

1,165

H retain riparian vegetation and protect high value flora and fauna habitat

320

445

465

175

1,405

I restore degraded frontages and quality and extent of riparian vegetation

310

425

625

185

1,545

J guide appropriate use and development of land on the floodplain or adjoining waterways

255

470

175

155

1,055

K address knowledge gaps

630

1,395

1,445

350

L improve knowledge and awareness of river health

250

420

290

315

M protect and manage significant cultural sites

150

150

180

100

50

630

TOTAL

4,790

8,960

9,620

2,735

345

26,450

70

755 585

130

3,950 1,275

1 It should be noted that specific reference to funding levels in this strategy is for indicative purposes only. The level of Government investment in this strategy is contingent on budgets and Government priorities. * Funding levels for AIM A - “improved environmental water reserve and connectivity”, particularly for Bioregions M2 and M3 involve significant contributions from the Murray Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) through the Living Murray initiative.

Table 7-3 Indicative 5-Year Implementation Budget1

It is important to note that the estimated funding requirements and proposed cost shares of this strategy are indicative. The Mallee CMA coordinates and implements river health related activities on behalf of Government, in accordance with Government policies. Government investment in this strategy is contingent on Government budgets and priorities. As a consequence, the timelines for implementing this strategy’s targets may need to be amended in line with funding provided.

• • • • • • • •

7.2.3

In addition to those associated with the above programs, other community groups involved in waterway management include: • Friends groups such as Friends of Merbein Common, Friends of Kings Billabong • School groups • Apex and Lions groups • Yarriambiack Creek Advisory Committee • Field and Game Clubs • Licence holders • Recreational anglers

Community Awareness and Engagement

The community has a very strong affinity with local river systems, and a passion for their protection and improvement. This has been demonstrated through active involvement in the development of land and water management plans, adoption of improved practices, participation in the Mallee Waterwatch Program, and in the high recreational use and appreciation of the river and its floodplain. The community’s involvement is vital to the successful implementation of the Mallee RHS, and their engagement is a priority for the Mallee CMA. Extensive community consultation has been undertaken through the recent development of the RCS, Murray River Frontage Action Plans and Biodiversity Action Plans. Consultation associated with the development of this RHS has focussed on improving community understanding regarding the linkages and coordination between these plans. The Mallee RHS will involve and educate the community through existing programs and groups within the region. Current programs include:

Mallee Waterwatch Mallee Regional Landcare River Watch Murray River Frontage Action Plan Demonstration Sites Frontage Management Grants Program Stormwater Ambassadors Drainwatch Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre - Knowledge Broker program

Through these programs and groups the Mallee RHS will: • enhance community awareness regarding river health issues; • improve community understanding of the links between land management practices and river health; • encourage participation in the implementation of best practices to improve river health; • engage the community in water quality monitoring activities; and • extend education campaigns beyond the regional community. Cont’d...

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The high recreational use of the region’s waterways and floodplains means that community awareness must be extended to include visitors to the region. Community education and awareness is an important component of the following plans, which address recreation management: • Murray River Frontage Action Plans (Mallee CMA 2003b, c, d) • Mallee Parks Management Plan (DNRE 1996) • Forest Management Plan for the Floodplain State Forests of the Mildura FMA (DSE 2004) • Mallee Tourism and Recreation Strategy (DCNR 1993) • Murray River Parklands Strategic Management Plan (PV 2000) • Mallee Waterwatch Five Year Working Plan (in preparation) • Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan (KBR 2004) The Murray River Frontage Action Plans aim to assist with managing recreation pressures at peak times in popular locations by providing support to Parks Victoria, DSE, Councils and other organisations, utilising existing initiatives such as River Watch, and coordinating activities and resources for additional works. The draft Mallee Waterwatch Five Year Working Plan aims to assist with the management of recreational pressures through working with local agencies/authorities to develop educational materials and media campaigns to address key regional concerns. Mallee Waterwatch provides a vehicle for broader community engagement in river health issues. Programs such as Mallee Waterwatch are fundamental in helping to fill some of the regional knowledge gaps in water quality and macro invertebrates. This is achieved by encouraging the community to take ownership of their waterways by becoming regular Waterwatch monitors. Mallee Waterwatch is currently finalising a data confidence plan to ensure that data gathered through community groups is reliable and of sufficient quality for use by natural resource managers.

7.3 Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting 7.3.1

Adaptive Management

River health programs operate within an everchanging biophysical and community environment. In addition to a variable external environment, data and knowledge are constantly being collected, leading to changes in management best practice. As a consequence, it is essential that the framework for management contained within the Mallee RHS be adaptive, with the capacity for change based on monitoring and evaluation recommendations. Monitoring of improvements in river health, and evaluation of the effectiveness of management actions and priorities are vital in determining the effectiveness of the RHS in achieving its objectives and, where necessary, allow appropriate changes to be made. The development of an effective monitoring and evaluation framework is fundamental to the adaptive management principle. The framework needs to link management actions and their outputs to river health outcomes through a series of objective measures. A detailed description of the monitoring program is beyond the scope of this document; however the broad monitoring and evaluation framework for the Mallee RHS is outlined below.

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7.3.2

Existing Monitoring Programs

An important aspect of the monitoring framework is the utilisation of existing monitoring programs already in place in the Mallee region. This allows data to be collected for evaluation of resource condition with minimal input of additional resources. Existing monitoring programs in the Mallee region include: • Index of Stream Condition (ISC) assessments (including annual assessment of ISC sentinel sites); • Environmental flow monitoring being developed through the MDBC Living Murray Works and Measures Program; • Water quality monitoring; • Waterwatch and community monitoring; • Fish, macro invertebrate and hydrology monitoring undertaken as part of the MDBC Sustainable Rivers Audit. • Mallee Mandatory Monitoring In addition to these existing programs, the Mallee CMA is committed to expanding monitoring programs throughout the region, including: • Monitoring the impacts of new irrigation developments and irrigation drainage (to be achieved to some extent through the implementation of the Waterway Management Strategy), in accordance with SEPP guidelines; • Vegetation condition assessments and flora and fauna studies of various waterways, wetlands and ecosystems; • Monitoring river health works throughout the region, including those carried out by our partner organisations and other stakeholders in the region; • Continual collection of data to populate the RiVERS database, informing more accurate prioritisation of reaches in the next Mallee RHS; and • Project specific surveys, audits and monitoring. Recent examples include: 1 Survey of threatened fauna and coarse woody debris in the Murray Scroll Belt Bioregion; 2 Fish larval monitoring on Lindsay Island; 3 Murray Hardyheady surveys in Lakes Cardoss and Hawthorn; 4 Murray Crayfish surveys in the Murray River and Lindsay Island; 5 Regional survey of aquatic vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians and fish); 6 Audit of levees at Mildura and Robinvale; 7 Audit of water diversion works; 8 Survey of barriers to fish passage; 9 Assessment of erosion sites along the Murray River; 10 Assessment of River Red Gum and Black Box condition; and 11 Flora and fauna survey of the Yarriambiack Creek Through these programs, changes to resource condition can be monitored throughout the region, which will inform updates to the Mallee Catchment Condition Report. This will allow the CMA to determine where improvements in river health are being made, and act accordingly. The RHS has identified addressing knowledge gaps as a key management aim, and a number of actions are outlined in the document to address this issue (see Chapter 6). The Mallee CMA aims to use the results of the studies and research programs identified in this strategy to inform improved management practices in the future.

7.3.4

Monitoring Framework

The monitoring programs described above will feed into the monitoring framework of the Mallee RHS, which annually monitors inputs, outputs and outcomes of management actions, facilitating the evaluation process at the end of the strategy’s 5-year life span:


Monitoring resources and expenditure Inputs - resources and materials expended annually on river health outcomes by the Mallee CMA and its partners (e.g. funds provided, resources used). Inputs will be evaluated using the Mallee CMA’s Project Management reporting system. The new business reporting system “Axapta” has been set up to report expenditure based on biophysical management units adopted for the Victorian Mallee, which include basins, bioregions and ISC river reaches. Monitoring management action targets Outputs - this includes implementation of onground works (e.g. number of trees planted, length of fencing established), production of action plans and reports, community engagement activities (e.g. brochures, field days), and changes in knowledge, practices, attitudes and skills in river management. Output objectives are outlined in the 5-year management action targets specified in Chapter 6. The RHS will be evaluated by its ability to meet these targets. Statewide standard outputs have been developed by the DSE River Health Branch in consultation with the Victorian Waterway Manager’s Forum for river health activities, and will be used by the Mallee CMA for investment planning and project reporting. Monitoring resource condition targets Outcomes - The change expected to occur in response to the outputs achieved (e.g. water quality improvement, habitat or ecosystem improvements). This will be carried out both on individual works projects, and the cumulative impact of works carried out under the Mallee RHS. These outcomes will be evaluated based on the 10-year resource condition targets identified in this strategy. Existing monitoring programs will be important in determining any change in condition. Evaluation The monitoring framework described above allows the CMA to effectively determine whether positive changes to river health are occurring in the region. The results of monitoring activities allow the CMA to chart progress toward the 5-year management action targets and 10-year resource condition targets identified in the RHS. The strategy will be evaluated according to the ability to reach the implementation targets set for the life of the strategy, and the contribution management actions have made to improving river health in the region. Reporting The Mallee CMA is required to report to a number of governing bodies and project investors, including the Australian and State Governments, its Board of Management, and the Murray Darling Basin Commission at various times. In addition to the existing reporting framework, annual progress reports will be compiled to facilitate the 5-yearly strategy review, including assessment of expenditure, performance against targets, case studies, lessons learnt, emerging threats, and recommendations for the next RHS.

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8

Reference List

AAV (1998). Mallee CMA Dominant Registered Aboriginal Archaeological Site Types. Archaeological Data from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Site Registry Database, Victoria. Ashwell, D. (1987). Floodplain Vegetation of the Lower Murray River - The Victorian Mallee Region. Report to the Land Conservation Council, Melbourne, Victoria. Beovich, E. (1993). Lindsay Island. Draft. Background Paper and Interim Water Management Strategy. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mildura, Victoria. Bluml, M. (1992). Sunraysia Salinity Management Plan: Environmental Report. Department of Conservation and Environment, Mildura, Victoria. BOM (2005). Victoria Climate Averages Website: www.bom.gov.au Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth of Australia. Boulton, A. J. and Lloyd, L. N. (1992). Flooding Frequency and Invertebrate Emergence from Dry Floodplain Sediments of the River Murray, Australia. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management, 7, 137-151. Brett Lane & Associates Pty Ltd. (2004). Survey of River Red Gum and Black Box Health along the River Murray in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia - 2004. Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT. Bunn, S. E., and Arthington, A. H. (2002). Basic Principles and Ecological Consequences of Altered Flow Regimes for Aquatic Biodiversity. Environmental Management, 30, 492-507. Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat & Ecolo-GIS. (2003a). Draft Biodiversity Action Planning: Landscape Plan for the Nangiloc - Colignan Zone, Mallee Catchment Management Authority. (Unpublished) Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat & Ecolo-GIS. (2003b). Draft Biodiversity Action Planning: Landscape Plan for the Robinvale - Nyah Landscape Zone, Mallee Catchment Management Authority. (Unpublished) Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat & Ecolo-GIS. (2003c). Draft Biodiversity Action Planning: Landscape Plan for the Murray Scroll Belt Zone, Mallee Catchment Management Authority. (Unpublished) Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. Centre for Environmental Management, University of Ballarat & Ecolo-GIS. (2003d). Draft Biodiversity Action Planning: Landscape Plan for the South East Mallee Landscape Zone. (Unpublished) Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

DCNR (1993). Mallee Tourism and Recreation Strategy. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Victoria. DNRE (1995). Wetland Database. Parks, Flora and Fauna Division, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria DNRE (1996). Mallee Parks Management Plan. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria. DNRE (1997). Victoria’s Biodiversity - Our Living Wealth - Sustaining Our Living Wealth and Directions in Management. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. DNRE (2000). Victoria’s Salinity Management Framework. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria. DNRE. (2001). Threatened Fauna GIS Data (THFAU500). Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria. DNRE (2002a). Victorian River Health Strategy. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. DNRE (2002b). Biodiversity Action Plan - Strategic Overview for the Wimmera Bioregion, Victoria. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria. DNRE (2002c). Siting and Design Guidelines for Water Diversion Works on or across Crown Land. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Mildura, Victoria. DNRE & Mallee CMA (2000). Rabbit Management Action Plan 2000-2005: The Mallee Catchment. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. DNRE & Mallee CMA (2001). Mallee Weed Action Plan 2001-2005. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. DPI (2005). Victorian Resources Online Website: www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/biodiversity _bioregions_vic Department of Primary Industries, Victoria. DSE (2003a). Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria - 2003. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. DSE (2003b). Hattah-Kulkyne Lakes Ramsar Site: Strategic Management Plan. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

CSIRO (2001). Rivers as Ecological Systems. Murray Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT.

DSE (2004). Forest Management Plan for the Floodplain Forests of the Mildura Forest Management Area. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

DCE (1992). Regional Flora Database, Mildura. Department of Conservation and Environment, Mildura, Victoria.

DSE (2005a). Advisory List of Threatened Plants in Victoria - 2005. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

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DSE (2005b). Index of Stream Condition: The Second Benchmark of Victorian River Condition. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

Mallee CMA (2006). Mallee Wetland Strategy 2006-2011. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

EA (2001). A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia, Third Edition. Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Maheshwari, B.L., Walker, K.F. and McMahon, T.A. (1995). Effects of River Regulation on the Flow Regime of the River Murray, Australia. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management, Vol 10: 15-38.

Heron S., Doeg T. & Sovitslis A. (2004). Mallee River Health Strategy Risk Assessment. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

MDBC (2003). Native Fish Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin 2003-2013. Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT.

ID&A (1998). Avoca Catchment River Health Strategy. Ian Drummond and Associates Pty Ltd, Wangaratta, Victoria.

MDBC (2004). The Living Murray Environmental Works and Measures Program. Murray Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT.

Kellogg Brown & Root Pty Ltd (2004). Yarriambiack Creek Management Plan 2004. Mallee and Wimmera Catchment Management Authorities, Victoria.

MDBC & CSIRO Land and Water (1999). The Salinity Audit of the Murray-Darling Basin: A 100 Year Perspective. Murray Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT.

LCC (1987). Mallee Area Review. Land Conservation Council, Melbourne, Victioria.

MDBMC (2002). The Living Murray A discussion Paper on Restoring the Health of the River Murray Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council, Canberra, ACT.

LCC (1989). Mallee Area Review Final Recommendations. Land Conservation Council, Melbourne, Victoria. McKane, B. (1992). Environmental Report: Nyah - South Australian Border Salinity Management Plan. Department of Conservation and Environment, Mildura, Victoria.

MDBMC (2003). Communique, 14 November 2003. Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council, Canberra, ACT. Morgan, G. and Terrey, J. (1992). Nature Conservation in Western New South Wales. National Parks Association of NSW Inc., Sydney, NSW.

McNee, A. (1996). Environmental Values of the Murray River Floodplain. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Northern Irrigation Region, Tatura, Victoria.

NCCMA (2005). North Central River Health Strategy. North Central Catchment Management Authority, Huntly, Victoria.

Mallee CMA (2000). Draft Mallee Native Vegetation Plan. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria.

NCCSWG (1991). Nangiloc-Colignan Draft Salinity Management Plan. Nangiloc-Colignan Community Salinity Working Group, Victoria.

Mallee CMA (2001). Mallee Waterway and Floodplain Management Strategies. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

Parks Victoria (2000). Murray River Parklands Strategic Recreation Plan. (Unpublished), Parks Victoria, Victoria.

Mallee CMA (2002). Review of 1997 Mallee Regional Catchment Management Strategy. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

Predebon, S. (1990). Nangiloc - Colignan Salinity Management Plan - Nangiloc-Colignan: the Environment. Department of Conservation, Forests & Lands, Mildura, Victoria.

Mallee CMA (2003a). Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy 2003-2008. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Mallee CMA (2003b). Murray River Frontage Action Plan: Merbein to South Australia Border. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Mallee CMA (2003c). Murray River Frontage Action Plan: Nyah to Robinvale. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Mallee CMA (2003d). Murray River Frontage Action Plan: Robinvale to Merbein. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Mallee CMA (2003e). Draft Victorian Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Mallee CMA (2004). Interim Report on the Condition of the Wetlands, Waterways and Floodplains in the Mallee Region. (Unpublished) Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

Pressey, R.L. (1986). Wetlands of the River Murray. River Murray Commission, Canberra, ACT. Quantum Market Research (2002). Developing a New Mallee Catchment Management Strategy - Research Findings. Prepared for Masden Jacob and Associates by Quantum Market Research, South Yarra, Victoria. Rowan and Downes (1963). A Study of the Land in North West Victoria. Soil Conservation Authority, Victoria. Rural Water Commission (1992). Draft Salinity Management Plan- From Nyah to the South Australia Border - Background Report. Nyah to the South Australian Border Community Salinity Group, Mildura, Victoria. SCSWG (1991). Sunraysia Draft Salinity Management Plan. Sunraysia Community Salinity Working Group, Mildura, Victoria. Cont’d...

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8

Reference List Cont’d...

Sinclair S. J. (2004). River Red Gum Decline in the Nyah-Piangil Area - Is the Semi-parasitic Pale-fruit Ballart Involved? - Final Report. Arthur Rylah Institute, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.

SMEDB (2005). Grow Mildura Region - Profiling the Food, Wine and Dry Land Farming Industries of the Mildura Region. Website: www.growmilduraregion.com.au Sunraysia Mallee Economic Development Board, Mildura, Victoria.

Sinclair Knight Merz (2000). Flood Data Transfer Project: River Basin Report - Mallee Basin Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.

Thoms, M., P. Suter, J. Roberts, J. Keohn, G. Jones, T. Hillman, and A. Close. (2000). Report of the River Murray Scientific Panel on Environmental Flows: River Murray-Dartmouth to Wellington and the Lower Darling River. Murray Darling Basin Commission, Canberra, ACT.

Sinclair Knight Merz (2002a). Stressed Rivers Project - Environmental Flows Study Avoca River System. Department of Natural Resources and Environment and North Central Catchment Management Authority, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2002b). Stressed Rivers Project- Environmental Flows Study Wimmera River System. Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2003a). Environmental Flow Study. Final Report prepared for Department of Natural Resources and Environment as part of Wimmera Bulk Entitlement - Environmental Investigation project. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Melbourne, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2003b). Mallee Wetland Operation Plans. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004a). Determination of Environmental Flow Requirements of Mullaroo Creek and Lindsay River. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004b). Feasibility of Installing a Regulator at Horseshoe Lagoon. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004c). Investigation of Feasibility of Structures on Wallpolla, Finnigans, Moorna and Dedmans Creeks. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004d). Feasibility of Installing a Regulator at Websters Lagoon. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

Victorian Waterway Managers Forum (2004). River Values and Environmental Risk System (RiVERS) Mallee CMA version. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Viridans (2004a). Victorian Flora Information System - January 2004. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria. Viridans (2004b). Victorian Fauna Display - April 2004. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria. Walker, K.F. and Thoms, M.C. (1993). Environmental Effects of Flow Regulation on the Lower River Murray, Australia. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 8: 103-119 WCMA (2002). Wimmera Water Quality Strategy. Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Horsham, Victoria. Whiterod, N, Bice, C, Zukowski, S, and Meredith, S (2004). Cyanobacteria Dynamics in the Mildura Weir Pool; Weir Pool Dynamics and Management Recommendations. Technical Report 8/2004. Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Lower Basin Laboratory, Mildura, Victoria. WMPPPG (2003). Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project, Interim Business Case - Volumes 1 and 2. Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project Planning Group, Victoria. Zukowski, S. and Meredith, S. (2004). Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands Structure Specific Water Management Plan for Webster’s Lagoon, Horseshoe Lagoon, Lake Wallawalla and Mullaroo Creek. Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Mildura, Victoria. Personal Communications

Sinclair Knight Merz (2004e). Development of a Groundwater Threat Risk Assessment for River Health. Mallee Catchment Management Authority. Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004f). Hattah Lakes Water Management Plan - Background Report. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2004g). Stage 2 Environmental Impact Assessments for the Provision of Increased Flows to Narcooyia Creek Pumping Syndicate. Narcooyia Creek Pumping Syndicate, Victoria. Sinclair Knight Merz (2005). Setting Resource Condition Targets for the Mallee Region. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria. SKM, and J. Roberts. (2003). Assessment of Water Management Options for Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands. Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura, Victoria.

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S. Meredith, Officer in Charge, Murray Darling Basin Freshwater Research Centre – Lower Basin Laboratory G. Hall, Floodplain Manager, North Central Catchment Management Authority


Mallee Waterway Strategy Objectives

Appendix 1

Objective

Objective Statement

1 2

To coordinate water quality management so that environmental values and production are maximised. To identify and promote best land and water management practices which recognise and enhance the quality of water and the condition of waterways and associated wetlands. To attain an equitable balance in flow regime for maintenance of biological systems, geomorphic regimes and irrigation needs. To assist in management of water quantity according to the Bulk Entitlement Guidelines and irrigation schemes so that riparian and aquatic ecosystems are continually enhanced. To protect private and public assets in waterways from flooding and erosion whilst maintaining equity with hydrological cycles. To encourage land and water users to adopt management practices that eliminate water erosion and riparian degradation, and protect and enhance biodiversity. To ensure rural surface drainage is managed responsibly, with due regard for the protection of waterway and floodplain health. To form partnerships with the local community, industry and other organisations to achieve sustainable management of waterways. To integrate waterway management with the management of soils, pest plants and animals, flora and fauna, socio-economic and sustainable land management programs and other aspects of the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy.

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Table A1-1 Mallee Regional Waterway Strategy Objectives

Objective

Objective Statement

1 2

To use land use planning measures to reduce existing flood risk and potential damage costs. To assess flood risk, and identify cost effective measures to reduce flood risk, ensuring decisions are made at appropriate State, regional and local levels. To input regional flood information into statutory land use planning schemes. To establish land use planning measures which minimises future flood risk and minimise damage costs. To ensure that decisions are made that balance the benefits and costs of implementing flood management measures, having regard for economic, social and environmental outcomes. To ensure that emergency response agencies and the flood affected community effectively plan for and respond to flood events. To maintain and enhance regional flood information. To involve the community in development of floodplain management plans and the level of flood protection. To provide and coordinate information and education to improve understanding of the risk of flooding and its impact on property, the environment, community well-being, health and safety. To provide and coordinate best practice training for floodplain management practitioners. To integrate floodplain management with the management of soils, pest plants and animals, flora and fauna, and socio-economic and sustainable land management programs, and other aspects of the Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy. To seek commitment from relevant stakeholders to undertake specified roles and responsibilities and implement priority actions for floodplain management. To utilise agreed cost sharing principles and consultation to allocate costs amongst beneficiaries and stakeholders. To develop appropriate performance standards to monitor implementation of the floodplain strategy.

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Table A1-2 Mallee Regional Floodplain Strategy Objectives

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

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Appendix 2

RiVERS Database

The RiVERS information is contained in full within the Supporting Information document. The following outlines the information contained within the document relating to the RiVERS database.

Summary of modifications to the Rivers Database Modifications were made to two of the Asset classes, buffer width and invertebrate data. Buffer width was changed from incorporating data within a 100 meter buffer of waterways to include all floodplain areas along the length of the Murray. Invertebrate data was omitted from the scoring due to insufficient data. Adjustments to the scoring of water quality and fish barrier assessments and the inclusion of scoring groundwater threats were added under the Threat class.

Scoring of RiVERS Assets and Threats Environmental, Social and Economic aspects of each river reach were ranked, along with the threats to each value of the reach. All values and threats to values were given a score from 1-5, 0 was given if there was no available data. Table A2-1 is an example of a threat to an asset (loss of bank stability).

STREAM NAME REACH NUMBER

14 - Murray River 1

ENVIRONMENTAL

SOCIAL

Significant flora Statewide EVC Significant fauna Invertebrate obs:exp Width vegetation Long. connectivity Structural intactness Fish obs:exp Fish proportion Fish migration Wetland significance Wetland rarity Heritage/resp river Sites significance Eco healthy river

1 5 5 0 5 5 2 4 2 2 5 5 5 5 1

TOTAL RATING

52 High

Loss of bank stability (bank erosion) (s) No data Stable (4) Limited erosion (3) Moderate erosion (2) Extensive erosion (1) Extreme instability (0)

0 1 2 3 4 5

Table A2-1 Example of Threats to Values Scorecard

A score has been allocated for each environmental, social, economic and threat for each reach. They have then been tallied to obtain a RiVERS score and rating for each section. The rating refers to the reach having high environmental values and moderate social values etc. The values and rating are unique for each reach. Table A2-2 is an example of the scoring for River Reach number 1, located near Nyah.

ECONOMIC

Fishing Non motor boats Motor boats Camping Swimming Passive recreation European heritage Listed landscape Flagship species

4 3 4 4 3 5 5 1 5

Water supply - irrig Water supply - potable Infrastructure Land Value Tourism Power Gen

34 Mod

Table A2-2 Example of RiVERS Results

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Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

THREATS 5 1 5 5 4 1

21 V.High

Bank erosion Bank stability Barriers Channel modification Flow deviation WQ trend WQ attainment Groundwater Temperature Algal blooms Exotic flora Degraded rip veg Introduced fauna Loss instream habitat Wetland connectivity Stock access

4 3 1 2 4 0 0 2 1 3 2 2 3 4 2 5 38 Mod


Appendix 3

Assumptions

General

Assumptions for Management Actions

The following general assumptions underlie the development of the Mallee RHS: • That actions contained within existing strategies and plans provide a sound basis for addressing the key management aims of the Mallee RHS • The targets and cost estimates provided by existing strategies and plans are suitable for adoption by this RHS • That groundwater is a significant regional threat that needed to be included in this RHS • That recreation is both a threat and an asset to Mallee waterways and that actions were required to be generated to minimise the risk of recreation impacting assets • Most of the Murray River floodplain is of high social and economic value and the driving force for priority setting should be based on environmental values • That existing information and knowledge of the Mallee’s waterways provided a sound basis for reviewing the environmental priorities generated by the RiVERS database

The assumptions for each management action are listed within the Supporting Document - Section 11. Assumptions are listed for each of the aims listed in Chapter 5.

Assumptions for Targets The following assumptions have been made in setting targets for the Mallee RHS: • The management action (output) and resource condition (outcome) targets established by the VRHS provide an appropriate set of targets for river health management • Targets within the Mallee RHS detail a process for positive improvement in river health • Targets will help to establish the monitoring and evaluation framework • The majority of resource condition change at the catchment scale will be measured by the 5 yearly ISC assessment process • Site specific monitoring will also be required to accurately measure resource condition change of management intervention • Targets established based around removal of grazing and revegetation have the greatest level of certainty based on past experience and results • 10 year targets within the Mallee RHS will ensure that: - 5 river reaches in priority 1 management zones in excellent or good condition - flow objectives are met at MDBC ‘icon sites’ - 100 km of river reach with an improvement in one measure of riparian condition - 7 km of river reach where in-stream habitat has been protected or reinstated - 1 reach in good ISC condition and progressing toward achieving ecologically healthy criteria • Targets based on the streamside zone sub index will rely upon ongoing landholder commitment for achievement • High priority actions will be achieved except where cost, water, resources, physical constraints or community support are a limiting factor • Targets for Murray River frontage and floodplain are set for the Victorian side of the river only • Targets for salinity and water quality are based on those used in the preparation of the Draft Mallee Salinity and Water Quality Management Plan (Mallee CMA 2003e)

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Appendix 3

Assumptions Cont’d...

Assumptions For Unit Costs

1 Instream Habitat Restoration Construction of Fish Ladder Fish survey Macroinvertebrate survey 2 Riparian Management Fencing (materials only) Fencing (construction) Riparian weed management for site preparation Bollarding Woody weed management (heavy) Willow management Off stream watering Off-stream watering troughs Revegetation (plants, stakes and guards only) Revegetation (plants, stakes, guards and planting crew - labour) Direct seeding Bird Survey Pest Animal Control 3 Erosion Control Scalding work - ponding works Stream bank erosion - matting Track rationalisation 4 Strategies and Plans Development of Water Management Plan Development of Restoration Plan for Specific Waterway Reach 5 Water Management Construction of water regulating structure Pumping of environmental water 6 Education Half day workshop (CMA lead eg Riparian Workshop) Half day workshop (Expert lead ) Media Release Forum (eg River Health Forum) Educational material Curriculum aids for schools - water quality/waterway related topics Special event (eg World Environment Day)

Table A5-1 Assumptions For Unit Costs

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Mallee River Health Strategy 2006

$/UNIT

UNIT

100,000 6,500 1,200

vertical metre of barrier km project area/site

2,000 2,000 900 20 5,000 10,000 2,500 500 650 1,500 900 160 100

km km km each km km km each 1,000 plants 1,000 plants km km hour

1,000 2,000 1,000

ha km km

50,000 35,000

each each

500,000 60

each ML

1,500 2,500 250 2,000 1,000 5,000 15,000

each each each each 1,000 units topic each


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www.malleecma.vic.gov.au

Mallee Catchment Management Authority PO Box 5017 Mildura Victoria 3502 Telephone 03 5051 4377 Facsimile 03 5051 4379

Mallee River Health Strategy 2006  

Waterways and their associated anabranches and floodplains are a defining feature of the Victorian Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CM...

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