Monitoring responses to environmental water delivery in the Edward-Wakool River System

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The Edward-Wakool River system is a large anabranch of the Murray River comprising a complex network of interconnected streams, ephemeral creeks, flood runners and wetlands.

Recognition of the system’s high ecological values has meant the area has been targeted for environmental watering and monitoring activities to restore and maintain ecological characteristics.

Three main aquatic ecosystem types dominate the Edward-Wakool system; permanently flowing rivers, periodically inundated floodplain forests, and small ephemeral creeks.

These ecosystems support a high diversity of flora and fauna, including threatened fish species such as Murray cod, trout cod, Eel-tailed catfish and silver perch.

Upper Edward River

Upper Edward River

Murray Local Land Services is working with local recreational fishing clubs, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, Charles Sturt University, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW DPI Fisheries and local landholder groups to adaptively manage and monitor fish populations and vegetation responses to environmental water delivery in the Edward – Wakool system.

The project, funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Program, will 1) contribute to the health of native fish populations in the Edward-Wakool system; and 2) investigate drivers and implement activities that boost social wellbeing and economic sustainability in the region.

To date, key activities have included electro-fishing and larval sampling to monitor fish populations and movement, as well as vegetation monitoring.

Drift netting in the Colligen Creek

Drift netting in the Colligen Creek

Achievements to date:

  • The development of graphs indicating fish population age classes and trends in fish recruitment over 5 years within specific reaches of the system
  • Community input into environmental water delivery decision making
  • Supporting of local recreational fishing club events
  • An annual community Fish Forum

*****Project Update: Environmental water used to create fish refuges in 2016*****


Commonwealth Environmental water was delivered to the Edward and Wakool Rivers during 2016 Hypoxic Blackwater event to create fish refuges.  The video shows lighter coloured water from Edward River escape containing a higher concentration of oxygen providing a ‘refuge’ in the darker, hypoxic low oxygen water  of the Edward River near Deniliquin. A total of 107 Gigalitres of environmental water was delivered through 20 Murray Irrigation escapes during the recession of the 2016 flood. For more information go to

Partners and stakeholders:

EWAA (Edward-Wakool Angling Association), the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, the Wakool Rivers Association, Charles Sturt University, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW DPI Fisheries, the Colligen-Neimur Action Group and Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre.

For more information, please contact:

Jamie Hearn
Senior Land Services Officer – Water
Phone 0447 420789

Additional information and sources:

Commonwealth Environmental Water Office website 

Charles Sturt University website

Australian Government National Landcare Programme website

Murray Local Land Services website

Our address

-35.472397, 144.394045

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