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Can you help secure the future of Cockatoo Lagoon?

15 Dec 2017

North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is putting the call out for locals to join the Cockatoo Lagoon Community Working Group (CWG) to help secure the future of lagoon.

Gunbower Creek has been used to deliver water for irrigation for more than 100 years and, more recently, to the Gunbower Forest. Regulating the creek to deliver water to customers has resulted in changes to the creek, including its ability to carry large volumes of water.

The current capacity is not enough to deliver the full suite of demands that may be placed on the creek, including all irrigation allocations, even in the absence of environmental needs.

North Central CMA Project Manager Anna Parker said this meant water may not be delivered to Gunbower Forest during spring, when it would have naturally flooded.

“Flows down the creek that promote Murray cod spawning may also go unmet, putting at risk optimum conditions for breeding,” she said.

 “Irrigators may also face rationing or scheduling, meaning they may not be able to access water when they need it.”

The North Central CMA and Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) have identified a number of constraints along Gunbower Creek and have been investigating options to increase the capacity of the Creek.

One option being investigated involves the removal of Thompsons Weir. This would significantly increase the capacity of the creek to allow delivery of irrigation water and water for the environment during peak demand. However, removal of the weir will cause lower water levels upstream of the weir, including in Cockatoo Lagoon.

GMW and the North Central CMA are investigating the possible impact of lower water levels and will be working with all irrigators that could be affected by the removal of Thompsons Weir to ensure they can continue to access water and maintain their current level of service.

As part of the investigations North Central CMA will develop an Environmental Water Management Plan (EWMP) for Cockatoo Lagoon. The EWMP will detail the environmental values of Cockatoo Lagoon, the current threats to these values, how the lagoon has changed over time and what can be done to secure its future.

“We are focused on working with the local community to develop a plan that will rehabilitate and protect Cockatoo Lagoon. If the lagoon can be operated differently in the future there is an opportunity to address threats and improve the Lagoon’s health,” Mrs Parker said.

“Cockatoo Lagoon is highly valued by the local community, who have local knowledge and personal experiences of Cockatoo Lagoon.

“The working group will ensure local knowledge and insight about community values and expectations for its health are understood and considered in the planning process,” Mrs Parker said.

Expressions of Interest from community members who would like to be part of a working group and help with the long-term environmental protection of Cockatoo Lagoon are being sought.

Further information and an application form can be obtained by contacting Debra Munzel or Audrey Dickins, who are Gunbower Island Community Reference Group members and have been involved in early discussions with North Central CMA about the Project.

Debra Munzel: (03) 5487 1363

Audrey Dickins: (03) 5487 1250

Or if you wish to contact the North Central CMA you can phone Sophia Piscitelli on (03) 5440 1869 or email Expressions of Interest applications close at noon on Monday 29th January 2018.

To find out more about the project, click here.