Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority is set to ramp up monitoring of water quality in creeks, rivers and wetlands across the catchment after two months of average to below-average rainfall and run-off.
Goulburn Broken CMA’s Simon Casanelia said forecasting would be important heading into summer.
‘‘With forecasts of another couple of dry months ahead, there is a strong chance that flows in many of the smaller creeks and some Goulburn and Broken river tributaries will be very low or may even stop,’’ he said.
The main risk to native fish is a drop in oxygen levels in the water and becoming stranded in small, unconnected pools.
‘‘Native fish and other aquatic wildlife generally try and move to shaded areas and deeper water during warmer weather, which is why the work we’ve done with the community to re-snag and revegetate waterways is so important,’’ Mr Casanelia said.
‘‘Improving and protecting the bank vegetation that provides this valuable shelter was the main reason water for the environment was delivered along the lower Goulburn River recently. Reedy, Black and Gaynor swamps and Kinnairds wetland have also received water for the environment this year and they will provide valuable refuge for wildlife if conditions do remain hot and dry.’’
Mr Casanelia said similarly dry conditions were experienced in late 2015 and early 2016 and sections of a number of creeks, including Seven and Hughes, dried out — which may occur again.
‘‘We are also monitoring the Broken River and the upper Broken Creek as there has been little or no inflow or run-off into these waterways in recent months,’’ he said.
There is also an increased chance of blackwater this summer, should heavy storms occur.
Mr Casanelia said it was most likely to occur as a result of heavy rain and flash flooding in the Strathbogie area and surrounding floodplains, which could wash leaf litter and other debris into creeks that then flowed into the Goulburn River.