Now is the winter of content for Campaspe River platypuses
While you might think winter is a time when animals bed down and take it easy until things warm up again, that’s not the case with some of the unique native fauna in our local rivers.
For native fish, rakali, and platypus in the Campaspe River below Eppalock Reservoir, winter is the time to start getting ready for the spring breeding season.
And thanks to water for the environment, they’ll have the right conditions to do it.
From mid-June, the current Campaspe winter flow will increase from 50 ML a day to 100, to help platypus, fish, and rakali (water rats) start their important pre-spring activities.
“This flow will start the process of providing foraging opportunities for female platypus,” North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Environmental Project Manager Darren White said.
“They need to start building up fat reserves now for breeding season. Lactating can take up a lot of energy for platypuses, and they’ll start preparing themselves for that now.
“We need to ensure the conditions are right to support the breeding platypus. This is especially important for the platypus as they don’t breed every year but are more likely to in wetter conditions.
“We’re making the most of what water for the environment is available to boost their chance of building their numbers
“That means making sure flows support the growth of key plants, plants that will attract water bugs, which are the base of their food chain.
“If conditions throughout the season are looking good for breeding, then we’ll increase the flows up to 200 ML/day in spring to give them a good chance of a successful breeding season.
Mr White said the flows will also help male platypuses.
“From now and over the next few months, male platypuses will start to move upstream and downstream, looking for new mates,” he said.
“A flowing river with connected pools helps them to do that and provides protection and cover against predators.
“And these flows are also important for our native fish. Like the platypus and water rats, they need to move around and discover productive feeding areas.
“These flows will provide the right conditions and habitat for what we expect will be a bumper spring.”
The North Central CMA manages environmental flows on behalf of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder. The flows are authorised by VEWH in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan.
The Plan is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au, with regular watering updates posted on the Current Flows section of the North Central CMA website.