Alluvium was engaged by East Gippsland CMA to investigate a better understanding on how environmental flows deliver nutrients to the river system, and what is required to generate positive outcomes on species and communities relying on the system through future environmental water releases.

The Snowy River has experienced considerable environmental changes over the last 100 years and been subject to declining stream health. This includes the reduction in flows resulting from the operation of the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Scheme and the decline of large stretches of riparian vegetation resulting from extensive agricultural development in parts of the catchment.

Some of the unique issues at the centre of this FLOWS study include the contraction of the Snowy River downstream from Lake Jindabyne, loss of streambed diversity in the floodplain reach and reduced primary productivity within the estuary.

Through determining the environmental watering requirements for the Snowy River, this project will provide waterway managers with the knowledge and understanding of the existing and future (under a changed climate) flow regime on the Snowy River, and address key questions, including:

  • How can flow regimes support native fish resilience, migration and spawning within the Snowy River?
  • How can flow regimes that are sufficient to support key flora and fauna species be provided?
  • How can watering regimes that are impacting habitat diversity be improved?
  • How can watering regimes that are replicating natural process within the bed be improved?