Restoring oxygen levels in Broken Creek

Goulburn CMA are working with partners to trial methods for improving oxygen levels in Broken Creek, and deal with the effects of the ongoing heat and low flows in many of the region’s creeks on native fish.

Goulburn Broken CMA River Health Manager Mark Turner said waterways, including Hughes, Hollands, King Parrot, Seven and Castles creeks and the lower Broken River had sections with very low or no flows.

“Our staff has been liaising with partner agencies to monitor water quality in creeks and rivers across the catchment for the past few months due to the below-average rainfall and extreme heat,’’ Mr Turner said.

“Some parts of the catchment received a small boost after rain in mid-December but given the dry conditions we’re experiencing there has been very little run-off into many of the region’s waterways. This recent spate of heat has seen many of the smaller creeks and waterways, which rely solely on rainfall and run-off for their flows, slow to a trickle.”

Mr Turner said at this stage there had been no reports of native fish deaths in the catchment, but after seeing the situation in NSW saw an opportunity to be proactive in addressing the issue.

“The main risks to native fish are a drop in oxygen levels in the water as it warms up and becoming stranded in small, unconnected pools.

“Native fish and other aquatic wildlife generally try and move to shaded areas and deeper water during warmer weather, which is why the work we do with the community to re-snag and revegetate waterways to create and link cooler, deeper pools is so important.”

The lower Broken Creek area is of particular concern as land use modifications have transformed it into a series of disconnected pools. However, it does still retain a lot of natural values including an important native fish population.

“I just want to know that if something can be done, I want to know it prior and be ready.

“Rain and run-off are the only ways to improve flows in most of these creeks. While we hope there is some decent rainfall on the horizon the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting below average rainfall and hotter conditions for the rest of summer.”

This article is adapted from an news item that originally appeared on the Goulburn Broken CMA website and an ABC Country Hour interview.