The following on-ground management actions were developed to create an adaptive hydrological system to enhance native fish and improve floodplain health.
Remove barriers to fish movement and increase waterway spring flows
- The removal or modification of six in-stream fish and flow barriers throughout Katfish Reach will increase flow and facilitate fish passage.
- A concrete regulator and fishway at the inlet of Eckert Creek will allow increased flow into the system and enable spring pulse flows. The Katarapko Stone Weir may be lowered by 340mm to allow more flow down Katarapko Creek which will benefit large-bodied native fish.
The present barriers significantly restrict flow down Eckert Creek and Katarapko Creek and prevent fish movement at low flows. The new and modified structures will improve the ability to stimulate conditions suitable for breeding of large bodied fish such as Murray Cod and Callop.
Promote environmental flows to improve floodplain health.
River regulation and drought have significantly reduced the numbers and height of flood events, impacting on the health of waterways, wetlands and the floodplain. Vegetation, fish, waterbirds and frogs will benefit from the improved flooding of the floodplain.
Katarapko Floodplain Inundation Measures form one of the four major components of SARFIIP. Through the construction of environmental regulators and with additional water provided by unregulated flows and environmental water holders, SARFIIP enable more effective management of flows into and around the floodplain.
This includes new structures at The Splash, Piggy Creek, Sawmill Creek, Carpark Lagoons; as well as blocking banks and access tracks.
The construction of this infrastructure will inundate more than 1300ha which will have significant benefits for the diverse habitat types and biodiversity.
Vary water levels to improve wetland health.
Reinstating a hydrological regime that is similar to the natural water variation will benefit plants, fish, frogs and waterbirds creating a healthier aquatic ecosystem.
Varying water levels within the creeks and wetlands creates different habitats at different times which benefits native plants and animals.
Upgrading the in-stream structures will enable flows and water levels to be varied as well as temporally drying certain wetlands and creeks which also occurred naturally.
Secure the nationally threatened Murray hardyhead fish population.
The Murray Hardyhead is a nationally threatened fish species which lives in the Berri Saline Water Disposal Basin.
Reduced irrigation drainage water inflow into the Basin has resulted in the majority of the Basin drying out during the summer months.
The Berri Murray hardyhead are one of the last remaining populations of this salt tolerant native fish within the Murray Darling Basin and work is being undertaken to secure its habitat during dry times. A long surface channel has been created to capture the limited saline irrigation water and this area can be managed to create conditions that are preferred by the Murray Hardyhead. Monitoring the water quality and fish population is on-going and this work is critical to ensuring the long term survival of this species.