Environmental Flows is a topic to find out some information. What do you think this is? How would you describe this?
Mr. Andy Wise from Mallee Catchment Management Authority has put together the following information to get you started.
What does Environmental Flows mean? It is also known as Environmental Watering.
Environmental flows are any managed river flow that helps river health. Can you add to this definition or write one of your own?
Environmental Flows and the Murray-Darling Basin
The basis for all life, plants and animals, is energy from the sun, clean air, clean soil and clean water. Eg. Breathing, plant production, meat production, our bodies are mostly made of water, and we need to drink to survive. How long do you think you could survive without food? water? air? Air, soil, and water, are vital in themselves, but they also give rise to everything else that all life forms on earth require to survive. Eg. food, and somewhere to live. And all the materials and things we use every day come either directly from nature or are man made using materials which are found in nature. All of our food production also relies on water. Eg. Meat, fruit and vegies, dairy products, cereals and carbohydrates. Irrigated food crops and pastures along the
Murray River help to feed the people in the cities where there is nowhere to grow food. The air, soil and water not only supports people, but all of the plants and animals. If adequate supplies of any of these are not available to the plants and animals, then their ability to survive may be jeopardised – including people. This is one reason why some species have become extinct, and others are rare and threatened. So the air, soil, and water are linked directly to our survival, and that of all plants and animals. Consider the mighty River Redgum – Eucalyptus camaldulensis. Redgums grow along water courses and around wetlands, and require occasional flooding to survive. These huge trees start from tiny seeds, which germinate under favourable conditions to become seedlings. It is tough for them to survive and if they don’t get eaten off by cattle, sheep, kangaroos or rabbits, and if they can get their roots down to fresh (not too salty) groundwater, they may survive to grow into huge trees, hundreds of years old! While they are growing, their leaves, flowers and fruits will be eaten by a variety of insects, birds like this Blue Faced Honey Eater, and some mammals such as this brush-tailed possum. Birds and Lizards will fossick for insects underneath the bark. Many waterbird and other bird species rely on the branches of Redgums for nesting places. Redgums can take more than a hundred years to mature to the point where branches die, break off, and rot away forming hollows in the tree trunks and larger branches. Hollows of different sizes provide homes for birds, such as the endangered Regent Parrot, and animals of a wide variety of shapes and sizes eg bats, reptiles like the endangered Carpet Python, and frogs. Why are red gums important? How do they survive when there isn’t any flooding?