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Project: Lower Murray – Wingillie Station, NSW

Wingillie Station, comprises 3,844 hectares and is located approximately 60km west of Wentworth in south-western NSW (Figure 1 below). Wingillie Station is under management by the Hazel L Henry Farmland Nature Refuges for the primary purpose of conservation.

Project purpose:

Ken Warren loves wetlands.  He says that the proliferation of wildlife in the wake of a flood event from bird breeding, to the identification of the Southern Bell Frog, has been wonderful to witness, and shows how important wetland management is.  Ken’s current and future management objectives are to maintain and improve native vegetation and provide more habitat for animals, birds, fish and frogs.  He will do this through active weed management, fencing and the delivery of environmental water into the creeks and wetlands of Wingellie Station.

Project timeline:

10 years and beyond.

Our approach

The managers of Wingillie Station are working closely with the Group to deliver a water management plan for their property using their own funds and resources, along with support from government agencies,  to improve the management of their property for environmental outcomes.  Stock grazing has been excluded from the property for the last 10 – 15 years, and native vegetation is recovering, particularly in those areas that have received environmental flows or natural flood events.

Outcomes

Water from the Environmental Water Trust and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder is being used to support floodplain vegetation and biodiversity at Wingellie Station. In particular, work at Wingellie is focusing on:

  • maintaining river red gum and other wetland plants on the floodplain
  • providing habitat for a variety of wetland birds
  • providing habitat for frogs, including the southern bell frog
  • reintroducing the Murray Hardyhead

A special project – reintroduction of Murray Hardyhead.

The Murray Hardyhead is a small fish (up to 9cm long) with an amazing ability to tolerate saline water. It has been listed as endangered since 1999 and has been considered extinct in NSW for more than a decade. It currently survives in just a handful of places in northern Victoria, as well as in the Riverland and Lower Lakes in South Australia.

In an effort to protect this little fish, translocation is being used to find new homes where it can thrive and survive.  One of these places is at Wingellie Station, where a population has been translocated into a purpose built holding pond on the property.  This is the first time a locally extinct freshwater fish species has been returned to New South Wales.

The relocation site contains ideal habitat for Murray Hardyhead because it is already saline in nature and contains plenty of submerged structure in which they hide and breed.  It also contains natural food sources and has the capacity to easily deliver more (environmental) water if needed.

The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Ms Jody Swirepik said the provision of environmental water has been a key part of the project’s success:

The return of the Murray Hardyhead to New South Wales waters is a great achievement and follows years of hard work by local landholders, community groups and agencies to create suitable conditions on Wingillie Station. This is a great example of how water for the environment is targeted and used carefully to improve the health of our rivers.

Lake Henry watering attracting a variety of waterbirds.
Water delivery commences, Lake Henry
Ken and Ann Warren looking out for Freckled Ducks
Aerial view of watering sites. Photo credit: Ken Warren

Our Partners:

For more details, please contact:

Alison Borrell, Project Officer
📞 0422 751 060
✉️ ali.borrell@mdwwg.com.au