Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth



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Table of contents

Summary 7

Table of contents 9

About this plan 10

1. Introduction 11


1.1 The Living Murray 11

1.2 The Living Murray Icon Site Environmental Water Management Plans 12

1.3 Planning context and legislation framework 12

1.4 Agreements 13

1.5 National Legislation 15

1.6 State Legislation 15

1.7 Legislative requirements – respecting Indigenous interests and values 16

1.8 Governance and planning arrangements 17


2. ICON SITE DESCRIPTION 20


2.1 Location 22

2.2 Land tenure 22

2.3 Description of key ecological assets of the icon site 25

2.4 Values of the icon site 27


3. ecological objectives and WATER REQUIREMENTS 35


3.1 The Living Murray First Step Decision icon site objectives 35

3.2 Water requirements 40

3.3 Climate and rainfall in the Murray–Darling Basin 48

3.4 Baseline condition 49


4. WATER DELIVERY 54


4.1 Prioritisation of water requirements 54

4.2 The Living Murray works and water modelling 56

4.3 Operating regimes for environmental watering actions 56

Description 61

Volume/day (ML)* 61

Year installed 61

Funded by 61

*Note: approximate volumes are estimated as at Full Lakes Supply Level (0.75-0.8 m AHD), with releases likely to change dramatically in response to high tides or strong wind events. 61

Description 61

Type 61


Year Installed 61

Funded By 61

4.4 Water accounting and measurement 64

4.5 Evaluation and management of potential risks 64


5. MONITORING 67


5.1 River Murray system-scale monitoring 67

5.2 Icon site condition monitoring 67

5.3 Icon site intervention monitoring 68

5.4 Other ecological monitoring undertaken in the icon site 69


6. COMMUNITY CONSULTATION AND COMMUNICATION 72

7. INDIGENOUS ENGAGEMENT 74

8. ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING 76

9. REFERENCES 77

10. SCHEDULES 82


Condition Monitoring Plan 82

Community Engagement and Communications Strategy 82

Future schedules 82

GLOSSARY OF TERMS 83

ACRONYMS 86

Tables and Figures 88

11. APPENDIX A: SIGNIFICANT AMPHIBIAN, BIRD, FRESHWATER FISH AND REPTILE SPECIES OF THE LLCMM ICON SITE 89

12. APPENDIX B: DETAIL ON LOGIC TO SUPPORT WATER REQUIREMENTS (SECTION 3.2.) 91


Lakes Alexandrina and Albert overview 91

Murray Mouth and Coorong overview 99

Combining all water requirements for the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth 101

13. APPENDIX C: MONTHLY AVERAGE, MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM VICTOR HARBOUR TIDE HEIGHTS (M AHD) USING DATA FROM 1964–2009. 103

14. APPENDIX D: DETAILS OF PAST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES AND ACTION IN THE LOWER LAKES, COORONG AND MURRAY MOUTH ICON SITE. 104


Past The Living Murray watering activities (2008–10) 104

Environmental Works and Measures Program 107

Department for Environment and Natural Resources— emergency actions (2008–10) 111

15. Appendix E: Details of management activities in the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site under different water availability scenarios. 114


Scenario ‘extreme dry’: assumes Lower Lakes water levels maintained
at ≥ 0.0 m AHD with infrequent barrage outflows. 114

Scenario ‘Dry’: assumes Lower Lakes water levels >0.35 m AHD with minor barrage outflows. 116

Scenario ‘median’: assumes entitlement flows + Additional Dilution Flow, with lake levels > 0.35 m AHD. 116

Scenario ‘wet’: assumes South Australia entitlement flow + Additional Dilution Flow with lake levels >0.5 m AHD. 119


16. APPENDIX F: EXAMPLE OF ONE INTERVENTION MONITORING PROJECT UNDERTAKEN IN THE LOWER LAKES, COORONG AND MURRAY MOUTH ICON SITE 123


Hypothesis 1 123

Hypothesis 2 123

Hypothesis 3 123

17. APPENDIX G: DETAILS OF OTHER ECOLOGICAL MONITORING BEING UNDERTAKEN IN THE LLCMM ICON SITE. 125


Southern bell frog monitoring 125

Community wetland monitoring 125

Drought Action Plan threatened fish monitoring 125

Ramsar habitat mapping 128

Acid sulfate soil and water quality monitoring 129

Goolwa Channel Water Level Management Project 130

Barrage release monitoring 131

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Long-term Plan adaptive management and monitoring 131




About this plan


This environmental water management plan consists of:

  • A long term strategic plan, (per Clause 117 of the TLM Business Plan), which outlines the icon site’s environmental water requirements and how to broadly achieve them with a combination of environmental water and works and measures.

  • Schedules detailing operational information about the icon site such as Condition Monitoring, Risk Management and Communication Plans. These Schedules will be added to the environmental water management plan as they become available and updated to reflect learnings from the operation of works, the results of environmental waterings and the latest science.

The environmental water management plans provide context for an icon site’s water planning, delivery, monitoring and consultation processes. While the environmental water management plans include proposed operating strategies, annual water planning and implementation will be responsive to changing water resource conditions, opportunities and environmental priorities throughout the season and from year to year.

This environmental water management plan and associated schedules have been prepared by TLM partner governments in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The MDBA and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of all those involved in the development of this environmental water management plan.

The Ngarrindjeri Nation is acknowledged as the traditional owner of the country that includes the Lakes, Kurangk (Coorong) and Murray Mouth.

This document is to be read in conjunction with the Ngarrindjeri Nation Yarluwar-Ruwe (SEA Country) Plan, the Ramsar Management Plan and the Ecological Character Description Report.


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