Water delivery to build Pollack’s resilience to dry times

Water has been released to support the Pollack’s river red gums and wildlife during the current dry times.

The Pollack is a 200 ha wetland and flora reserve and found in Koondrook State forest near Barham. Known as ‘Barham’s Kakadu’, it is only one of a few wetland habitats available to waterbirds in the area this spring.

The release will help the wetland and its wildlife respond when wetter conditions return. In particular, it will help maintain healthy fish and frog populations, provide habitat for nesting waterbirds and protect the health of the red gum forest.

Forestry Corporation of NSW is supervising the delivery of up to two gigalitres of water between now and autumn to support the wetland. The organisation will also be carrying out environmental monitoring and liaising with neighbours.

The release is particularly important to maintain the wetland’s baseline health, said Forestry Corporation Program Manager Linda Broekman.

“We need to keep the wetland and its dependent wildlife healthy enough that they can bounce back when the season improves,” Ms Broekman said.

“The release will support frog breeding, wetland plants setting seed, red gum health and other important processes. If the site dries out for too long, it will take much longer for it to recover. There will also be a substantial monitoring program supporting the water release, so we can fully understand its benefits and impact.”

The Pollack release will also support water released for agriculture through sharing water losses in the delivery channel.

“Essentially having both flows happening at the same time will mean farmers and the environment see more water at the other side. It’s a win for the environment and local industry,” Ms Broekman said.

Water is delivered to the Pollack via an agreement with the privately-owned and operated Bringan Irrigation Trust. Their collaboration and considerable effort to ensure a variety of specific flow rates are achieved and maintained, and that other users are not disadvantaged has been invaluable during past events.

The agreement provides for Bringan to recoup costs associated with pumping and channel maintenance. Over the past few years, this partnership has also meant mutually beneficial improvements could be made to delivery infrastructure.

Delivery of water to the Pollack is a collaboration between Forestry Corporation, the NSW Office of Environment, the Bringan Irrigation Trust and members of the local Barham community. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) have provided the water and covered related fees. The Living Murray is funding environmental monitoring.

The Living Murray is a joint initiative of the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian, Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth governments, coordinated by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428058549