Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Erosion explosion

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No action has been taken to address the explosion of erosion through hundreds of kilometres of Australia’s most iconic river, the Murray.

The erosion is consuming red gum forests, one of which is RAMSAR listed, as well as compromising bank integrity, with floods looming. Private infrastructure is also being impacted with pump sheds, fences, lawns and watering systems all falling prey to hydraulic land clearing.

Photos: Mark Bugge

The impacts of these constant high flows exceeding the natural constraints is evident in the photos provided by Cobram resident, Mark Bugge, who, along with brother, Shane, started a Facebook page called ‘Stop the Destruction of our Rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin’.

The photos are taken above the Barmah Choke. The Barmah Choke is where the Murray-Darling Basin Authority believes a sand slug is from gold miners in the 1800s depositing sand in the river.

The ‘sand slug’ is reducing the MDBA’s ability to increase flows to new irrigation areas as far as South Australia, and the extra 450,000 megalitres the federal Water and Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, is demanding for the South Australian environment.

Residents from the area have reported the loss of beaches and banks that families had enjoyed for generations. Their concerns have fallen on deaf ears to date as they watch their environment disappear.

Federal legislation in the 2007 Water Act protecting the river continues to be ignored, having former Federal Environment Minister, Sussan Ley MP, also provide no action.

The erosion of the Murray is not an isolated event. Residents on the Edward River report dramatic erosion and slumping of banks from west of Moulamein all the way to Deniliquin. Victoria had to step in and limit downstream of water due to the damage occurring on the Goulburn River.

With state and federal governments both pushing for the relaxation of constraints to further increase flows, the hydraulic land clearing of the river ecosystem, under an ‘environmental’ plan, looks set to continue.

The Basin Plan rolls on.

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 1 September 2022

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 1 September 2022.

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