Campaspe spring clean
It’s approaching that time of the year, when we all grab the vacuum cleaner, break into our clogged wardrobes and start the spring clean, preparing our homes for the coming summer.
Rivers and wetlands also need spring cleans, to prepare themselves, and everything that depends on them, for the hot summer ahead.
Along the Campaspe, a reasonably dry summer followed last year’s wet spring, with another dry summer expected later this year.
This means the river’s stunning river red gums, vegetation, fish and platypus need to be fed and watered, if they are to survive the coming dry period.
On top of that, leaf litter from the red gums sits on various levels of the river bank, and needs to be flushed down the river each year to avoid disaster.
“It’s the time of the year to give the river a spring clean and freshen it up for the vital seasons ahead,” North Central Catchment Management Authority Project Manager Darren White said.
“Over the past few years, our watering program has produced exciting results for the Campaspe.
“We have seen silver perch reach sections of the river they haven’t been seen in more than a decade, and we have seen an increase in the numbers of Murray cod and golden perch.
“Our sping river flows will help stimulate the growth of their food – waterbugs – and will prompt the fish to move further up the river to breed.
“And the same goes for the platypus. This spring is really important for local platypus numbers because a generation of them was wiped out during last year’s natural floods.”
Mr White said two flows in August and October would help the fish and platypus survive during spring, and give the banks a much-needed clean.
“Along some sections of the river there has been significant buildup of leaf litter and debris,” he said.
“This needs to be flushed away before it gets too hot. If it’s not, and there is a high flow in summer, it will wash into the river and could cause a toxic blackwater event.
“If we flush it down the river now, it will break down when the weather is cooler, providing a nutrient boom for fish and platypus.”
Up to 1300 megalitres a day for two days, plus the amount of water required to reach that level, will flow down the river during both events below the Eppalock Reservoir.
The upper reaches of the river received a cleaning flow after the early August rainfall, a flow that was stopped by Lake Eppalock.
Together, the flows will account for a maximum of 3% of the amount of water that flowed into Lake Eppalock last financial year, or 4% of what is in there now.
“We started to do these flows last year and the floods hit, so we stopped. Obviously, we will do the same this year if needed,” Mr White said.
“We may actually need less water this year than we have planned, with Goulburn Murray Water expected to release water for irrigators around the same time. If this happens, some water for the environment will stay in the reservoir for the peak recreation period.
“The Campase River is a shining example of what responsible healthy-river management can do, and showcases the impacts the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria plan can have on waterways and communities.”
The flow is part of the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment over the next four years to improve the health of waterways and catchments.
The flows are authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2017-18. The VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2017-18 is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au, with regular watering updates posted here.