For the first time in more than five years, both the east and west sections of Hird Swamp are likely to be filled, with up to 2500ML being used to top it up.
North Central CMA Environmental Water Manager Louissa Rogers said last year’s floods caused a bird breeding boom across the region, and this flow is aimed at attracting the birds back during their breeding season and giving them a safe and thriving place to stay.
“Hird Swamp is a significant site in our regional patchwork of wetlands. The swamp has been in a drying phase and, as a result, is booming, and teaming with life," she said.
“This flow will allow water bugs and fish to thrive, providing a perfect storm for birds during breeding season.”
Ms Rogers said the filling of both sides of Hird Swamp will allow water out of the swamp into Pyramid Creek, which, after being dredged in the 1960s, is no longer directly connected to the swamp and cuts it in two.
"In early summer, we will open the valve and send water down the creek," she said.
“By then, the water will be full of carbon, and will be a bonanza for slime on our newly installed snags, with waterbugs creating the perfect dining experience for the native fish that are either travelling through or have started to call the creek home."
"The water levels will not be impacted by any through flows to the creek. We will be providing top ups through the summer and the wetland will hold water into autumn 2018."
The NCCMA Native Fish Recovery Plan has focussed on re-snagging sections of the creek and providing flows to help with fish migration and breeding.
“Using every drop of water twice is a key aim of our NFRP, and this is a great opportunity to get two flows for the price of one. We will also be providing a top up to the swamp at the same time," Ms Rogers said.
Four other Loddon Murray Wetlands will also receive flows over the coming weeks, including Richardson’s Lagoon and the Wirra-Lo Wetland Complex.
Richardson’s Lagoon will be topped up with up to 1400ML to support waterbird nesting, resting and feeding, as well as the significant black box trees surrounding the wetlands.
The rehabilitation of bird habitat will be the target of a 300ML flow for the Wirra-Lo Wetland Complex, as well as the wetland’s high diversity of waterbirds.
The flows are part of the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment over the next four years to improve the health of waterways and catchments.
The flows are authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2017-18. The VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2017-18 is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au, with regular watering updates posted on the North Central CMA website www.nccma.vic.gov.au.