Skip to content

Fish & flows key to future of upper 'Bidgee

The upper Murumbidgee River is the often-forgotten headwaters of Australia's second longest river and one of the most iconic waterways in the Murray Darling Basin. Part of the river flows through Bush Heritage's Scottsdale Reserve, near Bredbo in southern New South Wales.

A recent one-day ‘Fish and Flows’ forum highlighted the great work being done by range of stakeholders including conservation groups, government and the community to recover native fish populations and improve the overall health of the upper ‘Bidgee.

However, the forum also made clear that the upper ‘Bidgee is at risk of being left behind by water legislation and flow management compromising the river’s social, cultural and ecological values.

The forum was about getting stakeholders together to share their work, gain greater understanding of the key issues faced by the river and discuss opportunities for ongoing collaboration. The initiative is part of the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR)'s Upper Murrumbidgee Recovery Reach project funded by Murray Darling Basin Authority under the Native Fish Recovery Strategy.

The upper 'Bidgee flows through two state jurisdictions and what happens upstream has flow on effects for what happens downstream. It is critical that all stakeholders work together to address threats including flow management if we want to ensure we have a thriving river system providing healthy habitat for native fish and other native species long into the future.

The forum heard that current flow management arrangements allow 96% of headwater flows to be extracted at Tantangara Dam, as part of the Snowy Hydro Scheme.

As a result, the flows in the upper Murrumbidgee are well below the scientifically accepted level required to maintain a healthy river ecosystem. Monitoring data presented at the forum showed how parts of the river ran dry during the 2019-20 Black Summer with critical water shortages and algal blooms experienced by local communities. Concerns were raised that in the future such events could also impact native fish.

The Murray Darling Basin Plan aims to ensure sustainable and equitable water management across state jurisdictions. Respective state governments are currently drafting Water Resource (and associated water sharing) Plans and once accredited, these water plans will be the principle mechanisms to achieve objectives sought by the Basin Plan.

The Murrumbidgee Water Resource Plan currently being drafted is an opportunity to create more sustainable water flows in the upper Murrumbidgee and ensure that the hard work being done by a huge range of stakeholders to recover native fish and improve river health are not compromised.

The beautiful 'Bidgee. Photo by Annette Ruzicka
The one day forum included stakeholders from conservation groups, government and the community. The one day forum included stakeholders from conservation groups, government and the community.
The forum was an opportunity to gain greater understanding of the key issues faced by the river and discuss opportunities for ongoing collaboration. The forum was an opportunity to gain greater understanding of the key issues faced by the river and discuss opportunities for ongoing collaboration.
Out on the river. Photo by Amelia Caddy Out on the river. Photo by Amelia Caddy
The upper 'Bidgee from above. Photo by Annette Ruzicka. The upper 'Bidgee from above. Photo by Annette Ruzicka.

Related stories

Adventurous volunteers on the Murrumbidgee River. Photo Rohan Thomson/Pew Pew Studio.

BUSHTRACKS 07/10/2021

A river in recovery

The bushfires of January 2020 left Australia’s second longest river, the Murrumbidgee, thick with ash and silt. Now, its waters are clearer thanks to a community-led effort to restore its health.

Read More

BLOG 16/06/2021

Fish & flows key to future of upper 'Bidgee

Representatives from conservation groups, NSW and ACT state governments and the community came together in Canberra recently to discuss the future of the upper Murrumbidgee River.

Read More

BLOG 24/03/2021

Fish funding for the 'Bidgee

Some recently announced federal funding will directly support native fish species in the upper Murumbidgee River.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 16/12/2019

River people

Antia Brademann discovers that for the people who live and work on the upper Murrumbidgee River, it's more than just a waterway; it's a way of life that connects them all.

Read More

BLOG 08/05/2019

Adventure Paddling on the Murrumbidgee

I've just returned after spending 9 days being involved with our volunteers in the Adventurous Paddling Program, which is helping to improve fish habitat in the Murrumbidgee River near Scottsdale Reserve, as part of the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 11/12/2018

Platypus patrol

A group of dedicated volunteers is helping to shed light on Platypus populations in the upper Murrumbidgee River.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 04/10/2017

Loving a river to life

Restoring the riverbanks of the Upper Murrumbidgee has provided new hope for the endangered Macquarie Perch.

Read More

BLOG 12/09/2017

Murrumbidgee Platypus surveys

In the last week of August 10 volunteers conducted the annual platypus survey on the Upper Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve, in association with Cooma Waterwatch coordinator, Antia Brademan and Reserve Manger, Phil Palmer.

Read More

BLOG 22/10/2016

Volunteers in huge Platypus surveys!

We're not talking about surveying a huge Platypus, but about the huge effort Bush Heritage volunteers and Scottsdale Reserve Manager Phil Palmer have put in to support the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch Platypus surveys this year!

Read More

BLOG 16/06/2015

Fish monitoring array installed

All fish monitoring stations in a 90km long fish tracking array in the Upper Murrumbidgee River have now been installed thanks to project staff and some pretty dedicated volunteers. This was no mean feat, as deployment of the monitoring stations required 8-hour long paddles into remote sections of the river to ferry in the equipment, including lengths of railway iron that are used to anchor the monitoring stations in the river.

Read More

BLOG 11/06/2015

Carp trapping trial

The carp trapping program at Bush Heritage Australia's Scottsdale Reserve is moving into its next phase, with a small team of inventors on board to design a heating system for the trap. What? Sounds like we are really trying hard to make those pesky carp just a little too comfortable? Perfectly correct!

Read More

BLOG 25/04/2015

Maccas & tagged carp

NSW DPI (Fisheries), working with Bush Heritage Australia at Scottsdale Reserve have now completed their European carp tagging operation. As a result there are 31 'electronically tagged' carp in the upper Murrumbidgee River. Any anglers catching a tagged carp will be given a reward for releasing and reporting the 'catch and release' of the fish.

Read More

BLOG 22/04/2015

Water works on Edgbaston

We're fortunate to have recently had Dr Ken Tinley volunteer his time on Edgbaston to give advice on measures to repair and restore problematic aspects of the catchment's run off that were causing problems for the endangered red-fin blue-eye fish.

Read More

BLOG 01/03/2015

Judas carp tagged to show their movements

Six European carp were electronically tagged by NSW Fisheries staff at Scottsdale Reserve last week to help shed light on when and where carp move along the upper Murrumbidgee River. This information is currently a key knowledge gap in the upper Murrumbidgee catchment and is critical for the better management of this pest fish species in upland river systems.

Read More

BLOG 16/11/2014

Hi-tech acoustic fish tracking

A series of acoustic telemetry receivers have now been deployed in a 20km stretch of the Upper Murrumbidgee River, centered around Bush Heritage Australia's Scottsdale Reserve. This hi tech fish monitoring equipment will be used to track carp and native fish to help threatened fish species management.

Read More

BLOG 05/09/2014

Gungoandra Creek rock weir

There's a very exciting project that was finished at Scottsdale this week! Nearly four years in the planning, design and funding the Gungoandra Creek rock weir and fish way has been successfully constructed over the last three weeks. It's the most significant component of the erosion control plan that volunteer soil consultant Peter Fogarty has helped Scottsdale with.

Read More

BLOG 10/08/2014

Murray cod benefit from carp control

The upper Murrumbidgee River is home to three nationally listed threatened fish species... highlighted by the recent discovery of a beautiful 93cm Murray cod at Scottsdale Reserve. This fish will be one of the beneficiaries of Scottsdale Reserve's carp trapping program.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}