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Summary 2016–17

418 GL

water for the environment delivered at this site

18 GL

water used at this site

400 GL

returned to the river as return flows

clipart representing water use


Water for the environment releaseda tick mark

Climate conditions

Wet - prolonged natural flooding in the area clipart of a drop of water


Are there works at this site? a cross mark

Works undertaken? a cross mark

Updated December 2018

Barmah-Millewa highlights for 2016–17


Natural flooding expanded the area of wet reedy floodplain, which is the preferred breeding habitat for Australian bitterns. This increased Australian bittern numbers by over 50%. It is estimated to represent around a third of the global population.


Murray cod, trout cod, golden perch and silver perch spawned in the River Murray within the Barmah–Millewa forest during spring and summer. The number of Murray cod, trout cod and golden perch were the highest recorded for 10 years.


A ‘Wetlands and Water’ day was held with the local Aboriginal community. The exchange of information and discussion about environmental priorities increased awareness of cultural considerations at the forest.  


River red gums within the forest provided great breeding habitat for 11 species of colonial waterbirds. Barmah Forest was the only location in Victoria where the Eastern great egret and intermediate egret bred.  

Past reports for Barmah Millewa

  Overall   Vegetation Fish Waterbirds Other
flood icon2016-17 A   B A A A
dry icon2015-16 B   B B A B
dry icon2014-15 B   B B A D
moderate icon2013-14 C   C D A D
moderate icon2012-13 C   C D A D
moderate wet2011-12 C   C B A D
moderate flood2010-11 B   B B D D
dry icon2009-10 C   C B D D
dry icon2008-09 D   D B D D
moderate dry2007-08 D   D B D D
dry icon2006-07 D   D B D D
dry icon Dry flood icon Very Wet
wet icon Wet moderate icon Moderate

Each year, water is released into the environment depending on the climatic conditions. See the outcomes of water over time for a long-term view of how natural and released water affects the health of rivers.

a map of the Murray-Darling Basin see-our-progress MURRAY RIVER ADELAIDE Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Deniliquin Goolwa SOUTHAUSTRALIA VICTORIA NEW SOUTH WALES Barmah-Millewa Forest Hattah Lakes Lower Lakes, Coorong &Murray Mouth GunbowerForest Lindsay, Mulcra & Wallpolla Islands Blanchetown Mildura Swan Hill Albury-Wodonga Echuca ChowillaFloodplains

Current activities

Regulators (weir-like structures) opened in Winter 2017 and 2018 to allow water to pass from the Murray River into the forest through a network of creeks.

This mimics a natural flow pattern allowing water to rise and fall naturally through the forest creeks. Murray cod have been using these creeks to move between the forests and the Murray River access habitat for feeding and breeding.

Monitoring is showing us that vegetation is in better health at sites that receive water for the environment. Delivering water also helps out native plants by drowning invasive species that aren’t suited to wetland conditions.

Moira grass and endangered river swamp wallaby grass increased in cover last year. It is  thriving in fenced areas where there is no grazing by feral horses.


Aerial view of Barmah Lake
Aerial view of Barmah Lake
Cucumber Gully
Cucumber Gully
Murray River near Gulf regulators
Murray River near Gulf regulators
Rufous Night Heron caught by trail cameras, Boals Deadwoods
Rufous Night Heron caught by trail cameras, Boals Deadwoods
Moira Grass
Moira Grass