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Author Topic: Environmental water release to benefit native fish  (Read 2593 times)

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Environmental water release to benefit native fish
« on: May 08, 2015, 11:09:56 PM »
Environmental water release - Yarra River
Thursday 7 May 2015

Melbourne Water will deliver an autumn fresh environmental water release to the Yarra River over the next four weeks, starting on 8 May 2015, to support the spawning of Australian grayling.

​Up to 10 billion litres of water will be released from Upper Yarra and Maroondah reservoirs during May 2015. Water harvest will be halted at Yering Gorge and in some tributaries at this time to maximise flows.

The release is part of a program to support Australian grayling populations in the Yarra system. It is anticipated the release, which will mimic natural processes, will promote the spawning of Australian grayling in the Yarra, and movement of fish in the estuary and bay to complete the next part of their life cycle.

This environmental water release is also designed to flush fine sediment and organic material from the river bed, maintain habitat for bugs and fish life, and support native vegetation.

What are the benefits of this release?

Part of this yearís environmental flows program focusses on supporting juvenile Australian grayling migration and spawning.

Australian grayling spawn in the freshwater reaches of the river before the eggs and larvae drift out to sea. The juvenile fish spend approximately 6 months in the sea before they then migrate upstream.

Monitoring of the same event last year showed strong evidence of grayling spawning in conjunction with the environmental water release.

Will the releases cause any changes in the surrounding environment?

During this release, river levels may be up to 20-90 cm higher along the Yarra River, and up to 120 cm higher along the Watts River, which is within the riverís usual range of variance. Detailed planning and close monitoring of water levels during the release period will ensure flooding and erosion do not occur.

Melbourne Water is working with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) and other stakeholders in relation to this release. We will also monitor the response of the river and aquatic life closely following the event to inform future releases.

The VEWH prioritised this water release as part of its Seasonal Watering Plan 2014-15, which aims to improve river and wetland health across the State.

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