Supporting the platypus population in Campaspe
Increased winter water flows are expected to provide native animals, including the platypus, with ideal conditions to prepare for the spring breeding season.
From mid-June, the Campaspe winter flows will increase from 50 megalitres a day to 100Ml, to assist platypus, fish, and rakali (water rats) with these preparations.
“This flow will start the process of providing foraging opportunities for female platypuses,” North Central Catchment Management Authority environmental project manager Darren White said.
“They need to start building up fat reserves now for breeding season.
“Lactating can take up a lot of energy for platypuses, and they’ll start preparing themselves for that now.”
Mr White said the North Central CMA needed to ensure conditions were right to support the breeding, as while platypuses did not breed every year, they were more likely to in wet conditions.
“We’re making the most of what water for the environment is available to boost their chance of building their numbers,” he said.
“That means making sure flows support the growth of key plants, plants that will attract water bugs, which are the base of their food chain.
“If conditions throughout the season are looking good for breeding, then we’ll increase the flows up to 200 Ml/day in spring to give them a good chance of a successful breeding season.”
Mr White said the flows would also help male platypuses.
“From now and over the next few months, male platypuses will start to move upstream and downstream, looking for new mates,” he said.
“A flowing river with connected pools helps them to do that and provides protection and cover against predators.
“And these flows are also important for our native fish. Like the platypus and water rats, they need to move around and discover productive feeding areas.
“These flows will provide the right conditions and habitat for what we expect will be a bumper spring.”
The Victorian Environmental Water Holder authorises the change in flows in line with the Seasonal Watering Plan.
The plan is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au