Government taking action to help protect Menindee
The NSW Government is taking proactive and precautionary action to help protect the Darling-Barka River as we move into cooler weather conditions.
There is a higher risk of further fish kill events due to fish being in an already stressed condition and succumbing to increased competition for depleting food resources as well as cooler temperatures.
Current oxygen levels observed in the river at Menindee have been good. However NSW Government agencies are taking steps in case of a change in conditions.
Water flows will be maintained at their current rate for the next five days to keep well-oxygenated water moving through the system.
Additionally, a commercial fisher is being engaged by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Group will remove invasive carp species, which compete with native Bony Herring for oxygen in the water.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will conduct further water sampling and work with local advocates and the community, while the Emergency Operations Centre is on standby in preparation for short notice activation if necessary.
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Water, Rose Jackson:
Water is a precious resource, particularly in western NSW, for both people and the environment.
“Menindee has been hit hard twice already and having this whole-of-government response to proactively manage the risks for further fish kills will help prevent another disaster happening.
We’re taking steps to ensure the community can have confidence in the management of Menindee for its protection and for future generations.
“Advice relating to drinking water will be shared regularly with the community as it becomes available to understand changing conditions which may affect how water is used for drinking, recreation and agriculture.
“Water monitoring will continue to be in place and will determine the necessary management of water flows after Wednesday 26 April 2023.
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe:
“Water sampling being undertaken by the EPA will help give early indication of any changes in the water quality that would require further preventative action.
“These results are being shared with the community as soon as possible, while the EPA continues its own investigation.
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty:
“It’s critical that water oxygen is maintained for native fish populations in the Darling-Barka River, including Bony Herring which is a key fish species in this waterway, as well as Murray Cod, Golden Perch and Silver Perch.
“Carp is an invasive species that competes with our native fish for available oxygen, food and nutrients, and by contracting a fishing operator to help remove volumes of this species currently accumulating in areas of the river, the reduction in biomass should also prevent further deterioration of water quality.
“All possible steps will be taken to prevent impacts to non-target species.
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism, Yasmin Catley:
“Environmental disasters need urgent responses, so the NSW Government has consulted with the Regional Emergency Operations Controller, ensuring the Menindee Local Emergency Management Committee is monitoring the situation.
“The committee is ready to stand-up an Emergency Operations Centre – if it’s needed – to coordinate the participating response agencies to bring about the best possible environmental outcomes.
Greg Mills | Minister Sharpe | 0407 268 243
Phoebe Fuller | Minister Sharpe | 0410 640 041