Banyule Billabong is getting a helping hand

Published on 20 April 2020

Banyule Billabong, situated in Viewbank, is an important billabong on the Yarra floodplain. It is home to many special plants and animals, and has a deep cultural connection for the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. Due to its uniqueness, Melbourne Water, Banyule Council, Parks Victoria and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Corporation have been investigating the long-term water needs of Banyule Billabong to ensure the site’s ecological, cultural and liveability future.

Published 29 October 2019

What's the issue?

Generally, billabongs are former paths of a river that have been cut off (sometimes known as oxbow lakes). Billabongs are currently under threat due to a range of issues, including changes to the water received. Banyule Billabong fills periodically from high flows of the Yarra River, though Melbourne's growth has affected the river and has reduced how frequently the billabong fills. This means that the billabong doesn’t receive the watering it needs to support the vegetation in and around it.

What are we doing?

Some sections of the billabong are in good condition, but the habitat in and around the channel is degraded. In order to protect and maintain the billabong's ecological character, we have delivered environmental water to the site to mimic what would naturally occur.

Where has the water come from?

Water has been pumped from the Yarra River, and accounted for under Yarra River’s Environmental Entitlement, held by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH). Monitoring will be undertaken to understand how the billabong adapts to new water levels, and how its vegetation responds.

The water delivery occurred during September and October 2019, and inundated the site to maintain an appropriate water level. This will:

  • suppress weeds and encourage the regeneration of native vegetation which requires a wetting and drying cycle
  • stop the growth of terrestrial species within the billabong and
  • test water options for the billabongs and provide more understanding of the billabongs water requirements.

What you may notice

The billabong has been inundated and we recommend not entering the billabong during this transition period. Keeping to the designated pathways is important for your safety.

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