Darling River conservation and fish. Darling River, Wilcannia, (a very small 'village' 950ks west of Newcastle), Oct 2016. The water level was not terribly low. Wilcannia was a large 'port' in the days of river transport.
Management of this unlikely long and grand old river is in the hands of an untold number of authorities. In reference to a local lake it was pointed out that The Department of Primary Industries Wetlands and farms project, a management plan for a lake was completed and recommended the fencing of the lake so the Lake Woytchugga conservation was undertaken by the Central Darling Shire Council. It was funded through the Western Catchment Management authority High Conservation Value Program which is supported by the NSW and Australian Governments.
Just imagine if big time water user way upstream offered to release water into the system. What an amazing gesture! Could they spare a drop from their water holdings the size of a harbour? (An insightful French movie has a theme about water and manipulation)
Lake Woytchugga is an ephemeral lake, impermanent, temporary, on the North -West side of the Darling River. During times of flood, the flood waters from the Darling flow out via the Woytchugga Creek. The lake covers 2043 hectares when full and is typical of an ephemeral lake in the Western area of the state.
All the same, a web site says that in the past a culvert blocked the water flow to the lake and there were problems until the council removed the culvert.
It is one of the many lakes that are connected to and are filled by periodic flooding of the Darling River. usually every 7 to 10 years, a process that is becoming rarer and rarer in modern times.
During times of inundation, water birds and other birds inhabit the wetlands. The riparian vegetation along the Darling and Lake Woytchugga is used by many birds including the red-tailed black cockatoo to nest and is important for their survival.
Aquatic organisms, and fish observed in the wetlands include shield or tadpole shrimp, fresh water mussels, yabbies and silver perch. Trees and shrubs vegetate the land there.
Aborigines use the Paakantji language and call the Darling River Paaka and the Paakantji see themselves as belonging to the river. In good times they camped around the lake to hunt, catch and gather food, fish, birds, eggs, and plants. Now, the younger generation is taught these skills and see the work of their ancestors. The land is a place of burials and of ancestoral spirits and serves continuing connection to the land. Totems are another aspect.
The internet refers to other tribes and languages as connected to the lake.
The local signage conveyed the above description.