Kings Billabong is a large floodplain wetland adjacent to the Murray River near Mildura. Its impressive natural, cultural and community values mean it is an important local asset that must be managed appropriately.
The wetland is significant as it supports species listed under the international JAMBA and CAMBA treaties, is listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia, has been assessed as a ‘high value wetland’ by the Wetlands Scientific Committee and contains rare or threatened flora and fauna species.
King’s Billabong is not only highly valued for many cultural, social and environmental reasons but it also functions as an irrigation storage.
Wetlands need varied water levels to be healthy. An environmental regulator has been constructed where the Psyche Channel flows into King’s Billabong to return variations to the water level of the wetland.
When the regulator is operated, it will allow the water levels in the billabong to be managed. This will include closing the gates to lower the water level in King’s Billabong during the irrigation off-season. The gates will then be re-opened and the water levels will rise to refill the billabong to meet irrigation requirements.
The King’s Billabong environmental regulator demonstrates that it is possible to manage a water body in a way that balances the needs of the community, the environment and economy.
The variation in water levels will increase the overall productivity of the wetland by exposing parts of the wetland bed to trigger organisms to lay eggs and stimulate riparian and wetland plant growth. It will also help to create more microhabitats for a wider range of plants and animals.
The Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre has been contracted to carry out extensive monitoring before, during and after the first drawdown event, to assess achievement toward the objectives and monitor undesirable changes.
Funding for the King’s Billabong environmental regulator was provided by the Victorian Government and coordinated by Mallee Catchment Management Authority, in partnership with Lower Murray Water and Parks Victoria.
King's Billabong Regulator