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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 417. Updated Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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Murray banks on dry year

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has released the priorities to guide environmental water managers across the Murray-Darling Basin for the next 12 months.

Creating refuge areas for species to shelter during drier periods is one of three themes for this year's environmental watering priorities, the second set to be developed under the Basin Plan.

Spokeswoman for the MDBA, Jody Swirepik said connecting rivers and floodplains and boosting river and wetland health, two of last year's themes, would continue to be priorities.

"Each year, we identify rivers, wetlands, flows and natural processes in the basin that need the most immediate attention," Ms Swirepik said.

"Environmental water holders across the basin States will consider these, and local priorities, when determining where to allocate their environmental water for the year."

Agency sets priorities

Ms Swirepik said drier conditions in some parts of the northern basin over the past year had prompted this year's focus on the third theme of improving and maintaining habitat refuges.

"With a possible El Niño to occur later this year, it's really important that we start looking to shore up some areas where animals can sit out an extended dry period, even in the southern basin where there have been wetter conditions of late," she said.

Ms Swirepik said refuge areas were particularly important for native fish species and waterbirds.

Other priorities include improving the condition of significant wetlands, such as the Gwydir and the Mid-Murrumbidgee wetlands, to support bird breeding, fish spawning and vegetation, as well as improving native fish habitat in the Macquarie River and connectivity in the River Murray System.

More information is available at this PS News link.

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