Forestry Corporation advises visitors to be wary of forest flooding

Forestry Corporation advises visitors to the Millewa, Gulpa Island and Moira State Forests to be wary of forest flooding as environmental flows are released into Barmah and Millewa Forests to improve the health of red gum forests and associated wetlands.

Forestry Corporation Riverina operations manager Larry Carey said the Murray Darling Basin Commission and the NSW and Victorian Governments had approved the release of the Barmah-Millewa Forest Environmental Water Allocation (EWA) of 500 giga litres to improve the health of the red gum forests, wetlands and Murray River.

Allocation of the Barmah-Millewa EWA is consistent with the operating rules for the Barmah-Millewa Forest and the Asset Environmental Management Plan.

Forest flooding will occur during October and November as flows below Yarrawonga Weir are increased to 15 000 mega litres a day from Thursday 13 October.

This flow may increase to 18 000 mega litres a day by the addition of occasional higher flushes from seasonal rainfall in upstream unregulated tributaries.

Mr Carey said the proposed flooding will contribute to satisfying the Living Murray ecological objectives for the Barmah-Millewa Significant Ecological Asset.

“In particular, the flooding will improve the health of red gum forests and wetlands and enhance breeding opportunities for native fish, frogs, tortoises, waterbirds and colonial nesting birds,” he said.

“The proposed flow release will not adversely affect the provision of water for irrigators.”

Following consultation between Forestry Corporation, the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment and Murray-Darling Basin Commission, it is planned that all regulators on the NSW side of the Murray River, will be opened from Friday 14 October.

Mr Carey said the opening of the regulators on the Murray and Edward Rivers would result in significant areas of Moira, Millewa and Gulpa Island forests being flooded and he advised forest users to exercise extreme care.

“All persons currently camping in these State forests are requested to leave as soon as possible to avoid becoming stranded and placing themselves in an unsafe situation,” he said.

For further information contact Mr Carey or Tom Halliday on (03) 5881 2266.

Media contact: Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669.