The project aims to efficiently deliver environmental water, which will result in environmental, socio-economic and cultural benefits including:
- healthier native grasses, shrubs, trees with targeted water delivery
- better passage of small-bodied fish from east to west for breeding and feeding
- healthier and better functioning wetland areas for water birds and aquatic animals
- reducing the risk of excessive red river gum saplings across the Moira grasslands and floodplains
- less risk of over-watering or under-watering events that may affect the health of native plants.
The Millewa Forest Project is progressing through the concept design phase. In addition to the delivery of a concept design, this project phase involves the development of Basis of Design reports, preliminary procurement, delivery and operational plans, and approvals processes for each of the project components. These project activities are critical to the project’s progression to detailed design and construction.
The planning, consultation and modelling to inform these activities is underway and stakeholder reviews of the draft design are progressing.
What is the Millewa Forest Precinct?
The Millewa Forest Precinct forms the NSW portion of the Barmah-Millewa Forest and is located within Murray Valley National Park and is the largest river red gum forest in Australia. It is located between the townships of Tocumwal, Mathoura and Deniliquin on the Murray River floodplain.
The Barmah-Millewa forest spans across NSW and Victoria and covers over 60,000 hectares. The area is culturally significant for Aboriginal communities, such as the traditional owners the Bangerang and Yorta Yorta People. It is also a notable breeding site for water birds such as egrets and the Australasian Bittern.
What does the Millewa Forest project involve?
The project proposes upgrading and building new infrastructure assets to allow water to be allocated more efficiently. These measures may include engineering works to provide increased benefits to ecological communities.
The project will operate in conjunction with other Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) works under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, including the Yanga National Park project and the already completed Barmah-Millewa Environmental Water Allocation project.
What are the ecological outcomes and benefits?
The Millewa Forest Project will significantly increase the inundation, frequency and duration of environmental flows to the river red gum forest and surrounding grasslands.
Local environmental outcomes within Millewa Forest include:
- improved health of the surrounding river red gum forests and woodlands, Black Box Woodland, scrublands and floodplain marshes
- improved foraging and breeding habitat quality for birds, such as kingfishers
- increased drought refuge sites for native wetland fauna
- sustained and improved water dispersal between riverine, wetland and floodplain habitat
- sustained health improvements for surrounding ecosystems and habitats.
What other projects does the Millewa Forest Project work in conjunction with?
The Millewa Forest Project will be delivered in conjunction with the Yanga National Park Project.