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Water flows into Hattah Lakes

NATIVE fish are expected to be among the big winners when environmental water is delivered to Hattah Lakes.
 
The water will be delivered over the coming weeks to the main creek system, Chalka Creek, to help provide a connection between the River Murray and Hattah Lakes. The water will come from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
 
This will mean native fish such as Golden Perch and small bodied native fish such as gudgeons will have a chance to move out of the lakes and back into the river.
 
We know native fish use the lakes as safe refuges to grow, so this watering will provide a great opportunity to ultimately increase native fish stocks in the River Murray.
Read more about the Hattah Lakes Watering Program here.

Also in this issue...

Magnificent Mullaroo...
Lindsay Harris, his grandson Finley Jackson and a friend Thea Saris were among more than 40 avid bushwalkers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts who had a close-up look at beautiful Mullaroo Creek. The Mallee CMA led a bushwalk adventure at Mullaroo, including checking out  its new regulator, on a sensational Mallee spring day in September.  The environmental infrastructure at the remote site west of Mildura aims to improve habitat for the Murray Cod. Read the full story here in this October issue of the Mallee CMA E-newsletter.

Minister Neville visits Mallee

The Mallee CMA was pleased to partner with a number of community members and local agencies during a recent visit from Minister for Environment and Water, Lisa Neville. The visit included a tour of Hattah Lakes, where the Minister got to learn about the shared benefits of environmental watering for Indigenous people, apiarists and the tourism industry, as well as inspect the environmental infrastructure at Hattah. The Minister also spent time talking to local irrigators and had time to inspect the environmental work done in recent years at Riverside Golf Club. A big thank you to everyone involved for helping to make this visit a success.

New round of Landcare grants now open


Mallee CMA has received a $201,600 share of the Victorian Government's Victorian Landcare Grants Program for this financial year. The Victorian Government has provided the funding for local Landcare and community natural resource management groups to finance projects that will benefit the health of the region’s land, water and biodiversity. The grants program aims to provide funding for these groups to undertake on-ground works that contribute to the improvement and protection of the region’s natural resources.  Applications close on 18 November 2015 and will be competitively assessed against state and regional priorities for eligibility. Recipients must be incorporated, insured and not-for-profit community based natural resource management groups such as Landcare groups and networks, or friends of groups. Further information and application forms can be obtained by contacting Regional Landcare Coordinator Kevin Chaplin on 5051 4377 or by email.  Or find out more by visiting the Mallee CMA website at www.malleecma.vic.gov.au

Cowanna Billabong springs to life

Local residents around Cowanna Billabong near Mildura, are observing remarkable impacts only one season into the restoration of more natural wetting and drying cycles at the picturesque wetland.
Since the installation of a regulator last year, the Billabong has been dried out and in early spring was re-filled with 400 megalitres of environmental flows.
According to local residents Len and Rae Jeffers, the transformation has been dramatic.
“As the water went down, we saw a lot of birds we don’t usually see, such as waders, which was fantastic.  The drying killed the carp, too, and once the water was gone the Green Army came in and cleaned up rubbish and weeds.
“But now the water has come back in we are seeing the other side, and nature springing back to life.  There have been hundreds of red gums shoot and they’ve grown a couple of metres high in just a few months,” Len said.
“When the water started coming back in plants started to sprout, there were insects almost overnight and we’re seeing waterbirds and ducks back – old favorites and some new species as well,” Rae said.
“But one of the things we’ve noticed most has been the frogs!  The old Pobblebonks and Peron’s Tree Frogs are there, which we had before.  But there are a couple of new ones and the numbers are just enormous. It’s lovely to sit out at night and listen to them.
“It’s a special place and it’s exciting to see what a difference just this one change has made in such a short time.” 

RIght: Len and Rae are passionate about Cowanna Billabong, where they have lived for more than 20 years. They are active observers of their local environment, including regular water quality testing for most of that time.

Mullaroo adventure bushwalk

Members of Mildura's Bushwalkers and 4WD Clubs got a close look at the operations of the new Mullaroo Regulator, during an organised bushwalk recently.
Mullaroo is a tributary of the Murray River about two hours west of Mildura, and links with the Lindsay River to form Lindsay Island. It’s a place many of the members in the groups were already familiar with, but were keen to get a look at the new regulator and fishway, and find out how they will work and improve habitat for cod.

One of those involved in the bushwalk was Mildura 4WD club member Ted Sowden, who said members could see the regulator and fishway were creating a more natural habitat for the fish and wildlife.
“We thought it was a great chance to get out and see what’s been done, and to actually understand it,” Ted said. “We’ve heard all about the work, but there’s nothing like getting out and having a look to see how it all fits together and to be able to ask questions. You sometimes hear people say that people need to come before the environment – but it just doesn’t work that way because the environment can live without us, but we can’t live without the environment,” he said. “The reason I love getting out in amongst it as a 4WD club member is understanding better where we fit and why it’s so important to put some effort and resources into replenishing the environment and preserving it for future generations.”
The Sunraysia Bushwalkers’ Club’s Roger Cornell said he was pleased about half of the group’s members had taken the trip to Mullaroo.
“We’re quite familiar with it, having visited fairly regularly and canoed the Mullaroo a number of times,” he said. “Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, this regulator presents us with some great opportunities for the future.  If we know there will be water going down we can do things like organise canoe trips along the creek, which is just a fantastic experience.”
The CMA also provided the groups with an inspection of environmental watering infrastructure at nearby Lake Wallawalla during the visit. Information on environmental works at Lindsay Island are available from the Mallee CMA website.
Pictured: The visiting groups above the newly-completed regulator.
Copyright © 2015 Mallee Catchment Management Authority, All rights reserved.


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