Rivers and Estuaries

Our region is diverse and characterised by areas of natural forest, areas of high conservation value, fertile floodplains for agriculture, coastal wetlands, inlets and estuaries and is a significant contributor to the Victorian economy through power production and agribusiness.

On this page you will find a range of resources including strategy documents as well as pages that describe various works that either are being carried out or have been completed across the WGCMA region.

This page is frequently updated as we and our partners carry out different works on and around our rivers and estuaries so be sure to check back frequently if this is of interest to you.

You can also subscribe to our frequent newsletter to keep up to date with what’s happening around the CMA.

More information can be found on our latest news page.

Waterway Strategy

The West Gippsland Waterway Strategy is an eight year action plan for rivers, wetlands and estuaries. It will guide future investment in waterway management. We are required by the Victorian Government to produce a Waterway Strategy, which provides a single, regional planning document for waterways in West Gippsland.

Our waterways

We are responsible for over 40,000km of designated waterways across our region. All of these waterways flow to the Victorian coast, discharging through the Gippsland Lakes, or directly into Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.

Urban waterways

Urban creeks are often much loved by local communities. Running through towns and providing places for exercise and recreation. They provide stormwater drainage for you, your neighbourhood and for upstream catchments. A healthy waterway will help clean the water naturally, provide habitat for native fish and wildlife, be resistant to erosion and the build-up of sediment.


Estuaries are an important link between the ocean and land. A meeting place where fresh water from rivers and streams mixes with salty marine waters. Estuaries are dependent on both of these water sources to provide a diverse and healthy environment.

Powlett River Estuary

The Powlett River Mouth is listed as a wetland of national significance and covers 580km². It is a beautiful spot popular with families and for recreational fishing. Many rare and endangered plant and animal species call this estuary home.

Wirn wirndook Yeerung - The Macalister River

The Macalister River, rising in the Great Dividing Range and flowing south towards Licola and then on to Maffra and the Gippsland Lakes supports a healthy environment a thriving irrigation region and a strong community.

Water for the environment

Victoria's rivers and wetlands provide water for towns, industry and food production. This means we remove a large part of the water that would normally flow into these ecosystems.

Current water releases for the environment

Two Autumn flows are planned in the Thomson and Macalister rivers, the April fresh is intended to trigger the downstream spawning migration of adult native fish species, particularly Australian grayling (EPBC-listed species), eel species and Australian Bass and the May fresh is intended to trigger the upstream migration and recruitment of juvenile native fish species, particularly Australian grayling, eel species, Tupong, Australian Bass, lamprey and galaxiid species.


Wetlands play a vital role in the local environment, providing habitat for wading birds and numerous other animals as well as fulfilling a function of capturing and holding flood waters before they enter or re-enter a waterway. In many ways they are the kidneys of the natural environment.