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Author Topic: Monitoring of blackwater within Edward-Wakool system continues  (Read 3824 times)

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Monitoring of blackwater within Edward-Wakool system continues   NSW Fisheries 21 Mar 2012

Monitoring of dissolved oxygen levels is being conducted throughout the Edward-Wakool system as part of a community-agency based blackwater monitoring program in the Riverina.

Murray Catchment Management Authority (CMA) catchment officer, John Conallin, said for the past two weeks community members and several agencies have been monitoring oxygen levels as part of a plan to minimise the impacts of hypoxic blackwater following extensive flooding.

“Low dissolved oxygen levels have been recorded right throughout the system and hypoxic blackwater has now been reported in the outflows from Koondrook-Perricoota forest through the Barbers and Thule Creeks,” he said.

“We know that at dissolved oxygen levels below 4 mg/l of oxygen native fish become stressed and below 2 mg/l they start to die.”

Dr Conallin said the agency-community group has established 'trigger points' around these key figures to help guide its decision making.

“Dissolved oxygen levels had been hovering around 4 mg/l in the upper and mid parts of the Edward, Wakool, Colligen-Niemur and Yallakool systems during the past week or so,” he said.

“Dilution flows were supplied from Murray Irrigation escapes and regulators, after monitoring showed dilution flows were needed, and has ensured that dissolved oxygen levels have not fallen below the critical level of 4mg/l in these areas.

“However flows out of the Koondrook-Perricoota forest, via the Barbers and Thule creeks, are at very low oxygen levels; well below the level were fish stress is observed.

“In some places dissolved oxygen levels are approaching levels where fish may die. Dilution flows are being provided from upstream, but even with these management actions in place we may still have a hypoxic blackwater event in the Wakool below these outfalls.

“We are working closely with all groups throughout the district to try to minimise the impact of hypoxic blackwater and reduce the effect on native fish, stock and irrigation water added.”

If any fish stress or deaths start to occur in these sections, the community should contact either the Murray CMA on
0400 301 217 or NSW Department of Primary Industries Fishers Watch Hotline on 1800 043 536.

For further information, contact John Conallin on 0400 301 217

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