Gwydir Environmental Contingency Allowance Operations Committee Report
The Gwydir catchment is home to a mosaic of wetlands from core semi-permanent marshes and waterholes to broader floodplain woodlands that are only inundated during times of significant flooding.
The catchment extends from the northern tablelands to the northern plains where it joins the Barwon River, covering an area of 26,596 square kilometres.
Environmental watering is focused on the floodplains west of Moree where the Gwydir River branches into three main systems – the Gingham watercourse, the Lower Gwydir (Big Leather) water courses and the Mehi, Mallowa and Moomin systems to the south.
Four wetlands in the Gwydir Valley are Ramsar listed including Windella, Crinolyn, Goddard's Lease and Old Dromana.
The Gwydir Environmental Contingency Allowance Operations Advisory Committee (ECAOAC) advises OEH on managing environmental water in the Gwydir.
The ECAOAC provides advice on the annual environmental watering plan and specific managed environmental water releases.
Environmental water in the Gwydir valley supports a range of plant and animal life including:
Coolibah woodlands, river cooba, water couch marsh and common reeds.The state's largest stand of marsh club-rush sedgeland. Breeding habitat for colonial nesting waterbirds as well as habitat for migratory bird species listed under international agreements.
Native fish such as silver perch, olive perchlet, purple spotted gudgeon and eel-tailed catfish.
The Gwydir wetlands are the country of the Kamilaroi people.
Over 160 cultural heritage sites have been recorded in the wetlands, including burial sites, scar trees and stone artefacts.