Report is part of a serious of 5 reports see (Menindee Lakes Ecologically Sustainable Development Project / [compiled and edited by Stephen Moore and Tania Midgley]
The Menindee Lakes and surrounding region is located in far-western New South Wales. The Menindee Lakes system is composed of a series of large ephemeral lakes on the Darling River, the lower of which are surrounded by the Kinchega National Park (Figure 1-1). These arid zone lakes have been developed as a significant water storage facility within the Murray-Darling River system, providing water for both agricultural and domestic users including South Australia (Scholtz et al. 1999). The region represents a significant cultural, economic, natural and resource for the Murray Darling River Basin. The margins of the lakes provide one of the most comprehensive archaeological records of aboriginal habitation in Australia, and the role of the Menindee Lakes as a water storage facility, benefits numerous communities and irrigation areas in the Murray Darling River Basin. The waterways of the region provide habitat for a large variety of aquatic biota while the surrounding area supports a diversity of bird life. Since its completion in the 1960s, the operation of Menindee Lakes has involved the regulation of natural flows between the Darling River and each of the systems lakes. This has dramatically altered the water regime of the lakes and has, more recently raised concerns regarding environmental health and sustainability of current management practices. As environmental health is a prerequisite for achieving both regional and national social, cultural and economic objectives, managers need to incorporate environmental information in their management decision making framework (Scholtz et al. 1999). It is therefore essential that the current environmental status of an area be understood. A recent draft management plan prepared by the Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) and the Menindee Lakes Advisory Committee (1998) identified a significant shortfall in available background information. This limited the ability of the group to prepare a definitive management plan for this important lakesystem. This report is a result of two components out of four listed in the original project brief: - Lake Wetherell Fish Survey - Fish Passage Survey The other two components being a technical literature review and an experimental study on the impact of pumping residual pools. As such this report provides significant information on the fish species occurring in Lake Wetherell, and on the species, population structure and behaviour of fish passing through channels connecting Lakes Bijiji and Balaka to Wetherell; and linking Lake Menindee to Lake Cawndilla.