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Environmental flows for Hattah Lakes

Pumping is underway to deliver environmental water to important wetlands at Hattah Lakes. The delivery of 11,400ML of environmental water during autumn and winter this year will mean Lake Yelwell will receive water for the first time since the 1996 flood, while Lakes Roonkie, Arawak, Bulla and Maramook will be inundated for the first time since 2006.

Environmental flows for Hattah Lakes

Environmental water in Lake Hattah.

The environmental water to be delivered has been made available from the Commonwealth environmental water holdings, the Living Murray Program and a donation of water from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

The water being delivered to Hattah Lakes within the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park is being undertaken by the Mallee CMA in partnership with the Victorian Government’s environmental watering program.  Watering in the Mallee is being co-ordinated by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA), in partnership with Department of Sustainability and Environment, Parks Victoria and water corporations.

“This year’s environmental watering program at Hattah Lakes is a truly collaborative effort, with all levels of government coming together with the Australian Conservation Foundation to protect this important area,” Mallee CMA chief executive Jenny Collins said.

“The water to be delivered over the coming months will complement the 6201ML pumped in during spring 2009, which has helped renew growth on river red gums, as well as attract waterbird species such as Australasian shovelers, hardhead ducks and great egrets.”

The environmental watering has been welcomed by the volunteers at the Sunraysia Bird Observers Club, who have witnessed first hand the impact the water can have on waterbird populations. The club was contracted by the Mallee CMA in 2009 to monitor the effect of environmental water on waterbird numbers at Hattah Lakes.

Birds recorded by the volunteers following last year’s watering included grey teal, black ducks, Australian shell ducks, musk ducks and freckle ducks. Other waterbirds recorded included black tailed native hens, Australasian cootes, white faced herons and spoonbills.

“Hattah Lakes responded really well to the last environmental watering and we hope to see that continue this year, with the area providing a drought refuge for the fish, birds and other species inhabiting the lakes as we move into spring,” Ms Collins said.

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