The Curdies River estuary was opened on Tuesday 5 May due to recent rainfall and increasing water levels.
Parks Victoria used earth moving equipment to remove a large natural sand berm that had been blocking the estuary mouth for several months. The Corangamite CMA conducted a risk assessment prior to the opening, which determined freshwater inflows from recent rainfall had reduced the likelihood of a fish death event.
The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s Estuaries Officer, Hayley Vinden said the opening was possible due to recent conditions in the estuary.
“Water on the floodplains of the upper estuary can be very low in oxygen, and an artificial opening can result in fish deaths when this low oxygen water flows into the main river channel.”
“However, recent rainfall in the catchment has freshened the river, and combined with the favourable swell, tide and wind conditions that occurred on Tuesday, the mouth has been opened and the risk of fish deaths is low,” she said.
The Curdies River estuary closes due to the natural processes of wave and wind action, and this variable estuary environment is important for plants, birds and fish.