Spring fresh – do we or don’t we?

During winter and spring the Latrobe Catchment has experienced above average rainfall. This has meant the Latrobe, Thomson and Macalister rivers have all received a series of natural high flow freshes and bankfull events.

These have delivered a range of ecological benefits, including triggering native fish migration, wetting bankside vegetation, helping seed dispersal and maintaining channel form and shape.

So what does this mean for our spring fresh planning? Environmental Water Officer, Minna Tom explains.

“In this water year, we had planned spring environmental water releases for the Thomson and Macalister rivers,” said Minna.

“But given the natural series of high flow freshes and potential for more natural freshes between now and the end of the year we may implement the planned environmental water releases.

“If the natural flows are able to provide for our priority ecological objectives then we can save this environmental water to target other ecological objectives at other times.”

Environmental water planning and delivery takes into account a range of considerations, including historical streamflow, forecasted rainfall and streamflow, available water, priority ecological objectives and monitoring or field observations.

“This is important so that we maximise the ecological benefits for our unique aquatic ecosystems with the water available from our environmental water entitlements,” continued Minna.

Minna is continuing to work with the Macalister Environmental Water Advisory Group (EWAG) who is regularly engaged regarding environmental watering in the Macalister River.

“Our next EWAG meeting will be in mid-November,” said Minna. “We’re looking forward to having ecologist Professor Paul Boon as our guest speaker.

“During this meeting we’ll also be reviewing the watering actions and outcomes of the 2015–16 water year.

“We are also looking forward to spending some time at the Bellbird Corner Riverside Reserve to take a look at the Macalister River and the riverside vegetation after this wet period.”

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