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Connecting rivers to recover native fish populations

Improving the outlook for threatened and recreational fish are key outcomes sought from the MDBA’s Basin-wide Environmental Watering Strategy.

To meet the life-cycle needs of golden and silver perch, and Murray cod, river systems need to connect at important times. In the southern Murray-Darling Basin, this needs active coordination of flows across catchments and state boundaries, over many years.

To encourage coordination and linking of flows in different rivers, the MDBA commissioned this report as a first step towards a southern connected basin flow plan for native fish.

The document outlines a connected approach that integrates the major rivers of the southern connected basin, including the Darling River, so that they become functioning parts of an aquatic ecosystem at a system scale.

To address high priority fish recovery objectives, the document proposes an annual, in-channel, hydrograph for rivers and anabranches which prioritises an annual spring rise for Murray cod spawning and recruitment and perennial winter flow.  Additional hydrographs for large rivers include annual silver and golden perch spring/summer spawning pulses and summer/autumn dispersal pulses.

The benefits of the approach would be annual native fish recruitment and dispersal, contributing to native fish population growth and expansion.


Towards a southern connected Basin flow plan: connecting rivers to recover native fish communities