Eight years in — perspectives on the outcomes of environmental watering in the Lower Goulburn River

Banner image: The Goulburn River in February 2023.
Credit: Andy Lowes

The Lower Goulburn River is one of the hardest working rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, providing water to support agriculture and rural communities, as well as meeting growing downstream Murray River demands. At the same time, it is home to diverse flora and fauna.

Water for the environment is a critical component of caring for our rivers, and the monitoring program we have in place continually helps us manage all water in the system.

On this page, we invite you to hear from community members, scientists and managers about what we’ve learned from the past eight years of monitoring environmental flows in the Lower Goulburn River.

Over the past eight years the Lower Goulburn River has had community and researcher led work to monitor the effects of environmental water on the health of the river. Project Leader Angus Webb gives us an overview of what has been found, and discusses how the long-term monitoring of environmental flows can help us better manage the river.

Angus Webb

Hear from community leaders about what they have observed in the Lower Goulburn

John Pettigrew

Community member John Pettigrew shares his views on the importance of the Goulburn River to the community and how, longer term, reconnecting the river with the floodplains will be key to having healthy and abundant aquatic life.

Steve Threlfall

Local business owner and rec fisher Steve ‘Trelly’ Threlfall shares his views on water management in the region, including the importance of getting the flows right for native fish and how our monitoring helps us understand how fish are responding.

Fish and environmental flows

Join Fish Ecologist Wayne Koster as he shares what eight years of monitoring in the Goulburn River has taught us about the native fish in the system, and how we can manage flows to increase their numbers.

Vegetation and environmental flows

Fringing vegetation is critical to the health and stability of the riverbanks in the Goulburn River. Hear from Kay Morris about what long-term monitoring has shown for bank vegetation and the importance of managing all water to sustain healthy riparian zones.

Physical habitat and environmental flows

The physical form of a river both influences and is influenced by the water flowing through it.  In this video, Geoff Vietz outlines the sophisticated monitoring program measuring changes in the river channel of the Lower Goulburn River, and how this is used to inform better flow management.

Macroinvertebrates and environmental flows

Macroinvertebrates play a key role in our rivers and can be an indicator of system health. Join Vin Pettigrove and Claudette Keller as they explain how monitoring macroinvertebrate responses to flows is critical in understanding the health and trajectory of the Lower Goulburn River.

Stream Metabolism and environmental flows

Join Mike Grace as he talks about Stream Metabolism and productivity – the engine room of the food chain. Although connecting floodplains will be important for increasing productivity in the system, Mike’s work over the last eight years has shown that small pulses of environmental flows can drive food production for plants and animals.

The role of slack waters

The Goulburn River has lost much of its physical complexity as a result of river regulation. Increasing physical complexity within a river can create slack water habitat which is critical for many plants and animals to thrive. Hear from Wim Bovill about how a simple experiment is aiming to understand the importance of slack water habitat for ecosystem function.

Hear from water managers about what we have learnt about environmental flows in the Lower Goulburn

Monitoring is critical to improving the way we manage our waterways. Waterway manager Daniel Lovell shares his insights on how long-term monitoring in the Lower Goulburn River helps improve the management of all water in the system, including both environmental and consumptive water.

Reading the lower Goulburn River

In this first autumn edition of ‘Reading the River’, we share with you what is happening in the river at the moment, and what our team of scientists are up to over the coming months. We’ve also let you know what you can broadly expect in terms of flows, including water for the environment.

Read the River


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