The Victorian Environmental Water Holder believes water would benefit the Wimmera River more than Toolondo.VICTORIAN Environmental Water Holder executive officer Beth Ashworthbelieves Toolondo Reservoir missed out on a water allocation because it was a low priority.
It comes after the water authority bought 5000 megalitres for the Wimmera and Glenelg rivers.
Toolondo residents and fishing enthusiasts were disappointed the reservoir was not considered for an allocation.
MsAshworth said last yearthe Toolondo Reservoir Recreational Fishery Advisory Group was formed.
The group comprised water managers, fisheries managers and anglers andlooked at options to maintain water levels in Toolondo Reservoir, including using environmental water.
“The advisory group funded an independent study that found the Wimmera and Glenelg rivers hada greater range of habitats and support more plants and animals than Toolondo Reservoir,” Ms Ashworth said.
“We have a limited amount of water, just like all water entitlement holders, and our job is to make sure we are getting maximum environmental outcomes with the state’s environmental water.
“In this case that means delivering water to the Wimmera and Glenelg rivers.”
Ms Ashworth said Toolondo Reservoir was a special spot.
“Wecan completely understand why people love to fish there,” she said.
“While it’s not the highest environmental priority in the region, it is a really unique fishery for Fisheries Victoria and anglers.”
Ms Ashworth said there were 48 types of waterbirds, 14 native fish species, 10 frog species, plus crayfish, mussels, platypus in the Wimmera and Glenelg rivers.
“The water that we’ve bought will help protect these animals and plants, particularly in the hot summer months,” she said.
“It will also support recreational fishing in those rivers too.
“Environmental watering has allowed estuary perch in the Glenelg River to expand its range by more than 200 kilometres.
“Environmental watering in the Glenelg River contributes $34 million to the local economy.
“In the Wimmera system, we’ve been able to work with the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and the community to keep environmental water in Horsham weir to support the Horsham fishing competition, while at the same time still achieving our environmental objectives.”
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