News

North Central CMA managing level of slime

By Liz Mellino

When it comes to the health of our rivers, the North Central Catchment Management Authority says there is nothing more important than slime.

To ensure the prosperity of slime in the rivers, North Central CMA will manage flows down the Loddon River and Serpentine Creek in coming weeks.

North Central CMA manager Trent Gibson said the aim was to keep the slime alive, along with improve water quality along the waterways and give vegetation on the banks a much-needed drink.

‘‘Managing slime is a real balancing act, but one that is vital for the health of the river,’’ he said.

‘‘Slime that is scoured off a rock or a log by flowing water regrows almost immediately ... when it regrows, it is much more appetising and nutritious for water bugs.

‘‘If we didn’t do these flows, the water bug population would be very poor, which would affect the population of native fish and platypus.’’

Mr Gibson said the more fresh growing slime there was, the more water bugs there were, and the bigger and stronger the water bugs become.

‘‘The more water bugs there are, the more fish, water rats and platypus there are, it really is a slimy circle of life,’’ he said.

Up to 100Ml a day will flow down the Loddon from Cairn Curran to the Murray and up to 40Ml a day will flow down Serpentine Creek for up to three days.

The flows are part of the Victorian Government’s $222million investment across the next four years to improve the health of waterways and catchments, authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its seasonal watering plan 2018-19.

‘‘Summer flows are really important for rivers, especially in this part of the world,’’ Mr Gibson said.

‘‘These flows will capitalise on the recent spring water for the environment flows and help minimise the risk of toxic blackwater events during the hottest part of the year.’’

The VEWH seasonal watering plan 2018-19 is available at www.vewh.vic.gov.au, with regular watering updates posted on the North Central CMA website.