Billabong to thrive from environmental water release

The pumping of water in action at Banyule Billabong

The diverse inhabitants of Banyule Billabong, near Heidelberg, including rare frogs and aquatic vegetation, will welcome a release of environmental water this week.

Melbourne Water, in partnership with Banyule Council and Parks Victoria, has commenced a strategically-timed top up of the Billabong at Banyule Flats Reserve in Viewbank using water from the Yarra River. The water release follows an investigation into the long-term water needs of the billabong and a need to ensure its ecological health in the future.

The release, beginning this week and continuing for the next month, will assist environmental managers in determining the amount of water required to improve the billabong’s rich ecosystem, which is home to species like the Growling Grass Frog and threatened plant species such as River Swamp Wallaby Grass and Ferny Azolla.

Melbourne Water General Manager of Integrated Planning Chris Williams said Banyule Billabong was still suffering from the long-term impacts of the 'millennium drought' and that this water was critical to its future.

“Some sections of the billabong are in good condition, but the environment in and around the channel is degraded,” Mr Williams said.

“The billabong is under threat due to a range of issues including changes to the water it receives. This means that the billabong doesn’t receive the water it needs to support the vegetation and habitat in and around it."

The water release is designed to mimic the flows that would otherwise naturally enter the billabong.

Melbourne Water will closely monitor the water release and its impacts to inform future works and advises members of the public not to enter the billabong for the next two months during the watering period and to keep to the designated pathways. Muffled pumping of water to the billabong will only occur between 9am and 5pm.

Find out more about their work at the Melbourne Water website.