Land Management and Biodiversity

We recognise and consider the impact of providing water and wastewater services on biodiversity and will undertake the necessary planning to minimise this impact and where possible, affect a net increase in these values.


> Threatened ecological communities

A number of ecological communities are listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (As Amended). The key threatened communities (relevant to the north central region) that are found within the Goldfields Bioregion and the Riverina Bioregion.

Significant ecological vegetation class (EVC) mapping is the tool by which we can identify the status of different communities in areas in which we work. The Department of Sustainability and Environment is the custodian of the EVC mapping. EVCs can have a different conservation status in different bioregions.

In planning works, we identify which vegetation communities exist in the area and then using the North Central Native Vegetation Plan or the relevant Biodiversity Action Plan, identify what conservation status it has.

Where possible, if any communities are identified as having an endangered conservation status in an area where we plan on working, we aim to explore all possible options to avoid adverse impacts. These threatened communities are of higher priority than other native vegetation.

Where we are unable to avoid adverse impact on the vegetation, the Native Vegetation Framework (NVF) will determine the subsequent offsets. The NVF relates the significance of the communities being impacted to the bioregion it sits within.


> Water Channels and races

In managing channels and race assets, we need to manage unauthorised clearing of native vegetation along channel by adjoining landowners, the buffer strip running alongside the channels, effective and strategic fire hazard control and in general, maintenance and operations activities that consider and protect flora and fauna values.

 

> Lake Eppalock, Coliban River System Storages and other Coliban Water supply storages

The Coliban storages offer drought refuge for many fauna species although in general, they are too deep for wading and non-diving birds. The Grey-crowned Babbler and Striped Legless Lizard are both recorded in the area.

The numerous arms of Lake Eppalock offer wind protection and often shallow water for waterbirds. As a storage, it also offers drought refuge for many fauna species. Stock grazing has caused the banks to become boggy and little food is available for stock or bird life.

The management of storages can also impact on in-storage biodiversity. The drawdown of water storages during times of severe drought can impact on biota within the storage and biota downstream, in particular fish and any protocol used for fish kills, monitoring of water quality, stratification and possible blackwater events.

 

> River Flows

Water impoundments can impact on river flows downstream of the storages. Alteration of flows can impact on the riparian vegetation and fauna species, affecting their ability to survive and the condition of their required habitat.

The Environmental Flow reports prepared as part of the Bulk Entitlement process are useful in better understanding the role and impact of natural flow regimes and the subsequent impacts of water impoundments and environmental flow releases.

We participate in the Bulk Entitlement (BE) development process for rivers in our region, led by Department of Sustainability and Environment (Melbourne) as a member of the BE Consultative Committees.

These Committees are actively involved in reviewing Environmental Flow reports provided by expert scientific panels and in discussing the implications for ongoing allocations being made from each river system.

The requirements for environmental flows and passing flow regimes are written into the BE Orders for Water Corporations under which they are held accountable.

> Further Information

Catchment Protection

Rural System

 

> Related Links

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Environmental Water - North Central Catchment Management Authority

Native Vegetation Framework

Bulk Entitlements - Victorian Water Register

Diuris Behrii - flowering mid-late Oct

Plains Wanderer (image courtesy of A.Gay at NCCMA)

 

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