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Chowilla Floodplain

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Watering events 2014–15

During Spring 2014–15, 105 GL of The Living Murray (TLM) environmental water was delivered to the Chowilla floodplain. This inundated around 3,000 ha, improving the health of floodplain vegetation. Six species of frogs bred, 25 waterbird species were recorded and environmental watering structures were commissioned for the first time.

The Chowilla Creek environmental regulator during the 2014 watering event
The Chowilla Creek environmental regulator during the 2014 watering event (Photo: Vic Hughes, MDBA).
Werta Wert Wetlands on the Chowilla floodplain.
Werta Wert Wetlands on the Chowilla floodplain.
Monoman Creek, Chowilla during the 2014–15 watering event
Monoman Creek, Chowilla during the 2014–15 watering event (Photo: Vic Hughes, MDBA)

Ecological objectives

There are three high-level ecological objectives for the Chowilla floodplain:

  • maintain high-value wetlands
  • maintain the current area of river red gum forest
  • maintain at least 20% of the original area of black box vegetation.

Underpinning these high-level objectives are 17 specific objectives, which were developed to quantify changes in the condition of the Floodplain. These targets are detailed in the Chowilla Floodplain Environmental Water Management Plan.

About Chowilla floodplain

The Chowilla Floodplain is part of the broader Chowilla Floodplains–Lindsay–Wallpolla Icon Site and covers over 17,000 ha across South Australia and New South Wales. It is an important ecological site, listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The Chowilla floodplain is managed by South Australia. (The Lindsay-Wallpolla islands are managed by Parks Victoria.)

Our vision for the Chowilla Floodplain is to maintain and restore a diverse and healthy floodplain environment. This in turn will provide for the long-term ecosystem and community needs. It will also serve as a showcase for lower River Murray floodplain management.

Recently completed, the Chowilla Creek environmental regulator and other structures are important in the management of the floodplain. The new structures divert water from the River Murray into Chowilla creek, where a regulator holds it. This inundates large areas of the floodplain at more natural frequencies, resulting in simulated high flows, restoring the health of the floodplain while using less water than in a natural flood.

Past watering events

Water Year

Volume (GL)

Outcomes

2013–14

4.7

Water pumped to key wetlands to support recovery of vegetation and improve wildlife habitat.

2012–13

0.1

Water pumped to Brandy Bottle Wetland to support recovery of vegetation and improve wildlife habitat.

2011–12

3

Water pumped to Coombool Swamp to improve health of river red gums, lignum and black box.

2010–11

0.14

Water pumped to key wetlands to maintain vegetation and wildlife habitat.

2009–10

4.39

Pumped water to key wetlands to prevent health decline in trees and provide drought   refuge.

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17 March 2015

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