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Summary 2016–17

1000 GL

water for the environment delivered

clipart representing water use


Water for the environment released a tick mark

Climate conditions

Flooding - Extensive flood water from flooding in the upper regions of the River Murray clipart of a drop of water


Are there works at this site? a cross mark

Works in use this year? a cross mark

Updated December 2018

Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth highlights for 2016–17


Natural floods combined with water for the environment provided suitable water quality, salinity conditions and food for fish in the Coorong. Plenty of water meant fresh and salt water habitats were connected, and fish were able to move and breed successfully. In July and August we recorded pouched lamprey moving upstream to the River Murray, confirming winter is the peak migration time for this fish.


Ngarrindjeri Working on Country staff helped with threatened fish monitoring in the Lower Lakes. This also provided an opportunity to share knowledge and discuss how water for the environment can achieve ecological and cultural outcomes.


The small mollusc arthritica helmsii has slowly recolonised the Murray Mouth and Coorong North Lagoon and was recorded for the second consecutive year in these regions. Other more familiar bivalve molluscs include clams, oysters, mussels and scallops. This indicates that the species is slowly recovering after it disappeared during the Millennium Drought. 


The Murray estuary continues to support a great diversity of waterbirds. Pelicans, crested terns and caspian terns were observed nesting in the Coorong’s south lagoon in January 2017, all at greater numbers than recorded in recent years. Unfortunately, fairy terns had limited breeding success this year.


Past reports for the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth

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

The delivery of water for the environment continues to provide freshwater connectivity through the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth.

The delivery of water for the environment to the Coorong is helping boost black bream fish numbers. More than 100 baby black bream were recorded throughout March and April 2018.