Contrary to the negative picture painted by the new Water Minister, Shadow Minister for Water Perin Davey, applauded reports this week of record water bird breeding events and improving fish stocks.
Recent reporting from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), native fish are fighting back
and conditions this year have seen successful bird breeding events throughout the MurrayDarling Basin.
“While it might suit the agenda of the new Minister for Water, Tanya Plibersek to focus solely on negatives and the Basin Plan isn’t complete, observations on the ground are that actions to date are working,” Senator Davey said.
“In reality, over 4,000,000 megalitres of water entitlements have been returned to the environment in three major reforms since 2004 and the ongoing efforts of water managers, landholders and local environmental interests are delivering outcomes.
“Following widespread rains over the past two years and full environmental water allocations being actively managed, the Murray-Darling Basin is currently in good condition with large numbers of waterbirds breeding across very wet-wetlands across the Basin,” Senator Davey said.
“The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is reporting colonial-nesting waterbirds bred at Narran Lakes this year for the first time in 10 years. Not only that, this is the first time breeding has occurred at Macquarie Marshes, Gwydir wetlands and Narran Lakes in 24 years.
“It is great to see a habitat is being provided for waterbirds and importantly, the entire food chain has kicked into boom mode with enough food in the form of fish, yabbies, frogs, shrimp and insects to sustain the largest bird breeding events in some key wetlands such as Macquarie Marshes since bird surveys began back in 1983,” Senator Davey said.
According to DCCEEW, 30,000 of the waterbirds (pelicans) had flocked to Lake Brewster, near Hillston, in western New South Wales. It was one of the nation’s largest breeding events ever recorded.
Senator Davey said droughts will return given we live in a boom-and-bust environment.
“It is vitally important that environmental water managers and researchers continue to improve on the way e-water is being delivered throughout the Basin,” Senator Davey said.
“Water plays a significant role in supporting the habitats of waterbirds and I am pleased to see the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, coupled with previous reforms like the Living Murray, is providing the tools needed for e-water managers to use their portfolio to support and enhance these events,” Senator Davey said.