Carrs, Cappitts and Bunberoo (CCB) Creeks are located on the floodplain of the Taroo Group of Reserves (comprised of the former Moorna, Wangumma and Lake Victoria State Forests), within the Lock 8 and 9 reach of the Murray River (south) and Frenchmans Creek (north), approximately 45km west of Wentworth, NSW.
River Red Gum and Black Box dominate the ephemeral wetlands associated with these creeks. Unfortunately, the natural hydrology of the wetlands has been interrupted by river regulation and the installation of nine structures (concrete fords and rock levee banks). The wetlands now only receive flows during periods of high flow either by overtopping structures and/or syphoning of water from the nearby Frenchmans Creek.
Studies have shown this area is very important for fish habitat, breeding and spawning. Hydrodynamic modelling on the CCB Creeks system shows this system has the potential to support robust and diverse native fish populations, if the weirs are refurbished to incorporate adjustable gates and fishways to these regulating structures. By putting this infrastructure in place, more is able to be achieved with less water. The infrastructure will help restore a more natural flooding regime to the project area, similar in frequency and duration to that which occurred before river regulation.
The CCB system is targeted as a key site on the River Murray as it has the possibility to address three fish habitat impacts through the introduction of flows through Carrs Creek without having a large water requirement i.e. low transmission losses.
Additional benefits also include improvements to the riparian zone ecology. Where remnant flowing water habitat remains, these habitats support robust populations of diverse native fish species, in particular Murray cod; a species listed as vulnerable in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A key feature of the CCB site is the interconnected mosaic of aquatic habitats so that areas are provided for larvae, juveniles and adult fish.
Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd. (MDWWG) and the Western Local Land Services have begun investigating the rehabilitation of this area, with co-operation and assistance from many government and community stakeholders. Rehabilitation will be focused on upgrading of structures to accommodate SA Water easement and fish passage. A number of the existing structures have the potential of being modified which could improve flow management throughout the system, across the floodplain and into associated wetlands.
It is estimated that nearly $17 million will be needed to fully rehabilitate this area, and funding opportunities are being discussed with government.