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Summary 2016–17

3.1 GL

water for the environment delivered

3.1 GL

used at this site

0 GL

flowing back to the river system

clipart representing water use


Water for the environment released a tick mark

Climate conditions

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


Are there works at this site? a tick mark

Works in use this year? a cross mark

Updated December 2018

Gunbower highlights 2016–17


The local Barapa Culture Team trialled the Aboriginal Waterways Assessment tool. The tool determines where and when water should be delivered for cultural outcomes, like targeting culturally significant plants such as Water Ribbon.


Understorey vegetation in river red gum forests and Box woodlands is in the healthiest condition since monitoring began in 2005. This increases shelter, feeding and nesting habitat for a range of animals.


A strong population of Murray cod is present in Gunbower Creek, particularly ones that spawned from 2013 to 2015. This indicates the success of targeting particular flow conditions for Murray cod since 2013.


Water for the environment travelled through Gunbower Creek during the Big Cohuna Festival in November 2016 and the Cohuna Bridge to Bridge in March 2017. This provided great conditions for recreational activities like fishing, canoeing and sight-seeing from a range of visitors.

Past reports for Gunbower forest

  Overall   Vegetation Fish Waterbirds Other
flood icon2016-17 B   A B B -
dry icon2015-16 B   A B B -
dry icon2014-15 B   A B A -
moderate icon2013-14 B   A D A -
moderate icon2012-13 B   B C D -
wet icon2011-12 C   C C B B
flood icon2010-11 B   B C A -
dry icon2009-10 C   B D C B
dry icon2008-09 C   C B C B
dry icon2007-08 D   D C C D
dry icon2006-07 -   - - - -
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

Hot and dry summers since the natural floods in 2016 left the upper forest floodplain very dry with little evidence of residual soil moisture.

During Winter 2018, water for the environment is being delivered through the forest, targeting the river red gum floodplain and wetlands. This has helped the forest thrive, and also provide great recreation and tourism opportunities like canoeing, bird watching and fishing. 

A drying phase in Spring 2017 and manual removal of carp from Reedy Lagoon and Black Swamp reduced carp biomass. Since then, Reedy Lagoon has had a dense coverage of endangered river swamp wallaby grass.

Observations suggest that the river red gum forests that receive water for the environment as well as natural flooding have greater cover and diversity of understory vegetation than those that don’t receive water for the environment. Further monitoring will confirm this.


Black Swamp
Black Swamp
Hipwell Road
Hipwell Road
Little Reedy
Little Reedy
Plant identification course at Reedy Lagoon
Plant identification course at Reedy Lagoon
Reedy Lagoon
Reedy Lagoon