Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

No top up for Lake Cooper

Lake Cooper will not be topped up with environmental water.

ELAINE COONEY January 29, 2014 4:19am

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder has ruled out topping up Lake Cooper with environmental water.

Campaspe News recently spoke to concerned Corop residents about the low water levels and rising salinity at the lake.

They suggested environmental flows would address the problem.

Victorian Environmental Water Holder chair Denis Flett said while the lake was used for a range of recreational activities, it was not considered a priority for environmental watering because it was not recognised in the Federal Government’s Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia as having significant environmental values.

He said wetlands were prioritised for environmental water delivery according to the significance of their environmental values.

Mr Flett said the Mansfield, Gaynor, Wallenjoe, Two Tree and One Tree swamps (within the Corop system) were identified as nationally significant wetlands because of the number and diversity of flora and fauna they supported.

Lake Cooper fisherman Aub Reddrop said there were many reasons environmental water should be used to top up the lake.

He said he often saw brolgaswhich are not commonly seen in the districtat the lake.

Mr Reddrop was concerned that the lack of water in the lake would damage fish life and such birds would go elsewhere.

He said the lake hosted non-native redfin and carp, but if there was an agreement of consistent environmental flows to the lake, angling groups would consider stocking it with native fish.

‘‘The biggest plus for environmental flows is to get water in Gaynor Swamp,’’ Mr Reddrop said.

he said the safety of jet skiers and the protection of the Murray River were also important factors.

‘‘We need to get the jet skiers away from the Murray. They are eroding and dirtying the water and over the years there had been serious accidents and deaths,’’ he said.

‘‘At the lake it’s a safer open area with clear visibility.’’

Mr Reddrop has written to several federal and state ministers as well as local councillors about the issues.

Concerned Corop resident Trevor Speer said he was disappointed by the decision and did not know where the community would turn next.

He said he had noticed more birds in the area during the past few weeks.

‘‘It’s getting dry in NSW so they are coming down here for water,’’ he said.

‘‘It would be a shame to see it dry up,’’ he said.

Mr Speer recalled the lake drying up during the drought and the fish died.

He said the lake now hosted healthy fish and bird populations but he was concerned they would soon disappear.

‘‘A few more hot days like we had last week and the fish could cook,’’ he said.

He said the water in the lake sat about 60cm deep and another 50cm of fresh water could help.

Mr Speer said he was hoping for more rain to fill the lake.

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