OPINION: Instead of splashing water, shouldn’t we clean out the carp?

The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) charter is to focus on river health and, very particularly, on improving water quality.

Unfortunately the MDBA is concentrating their efforts on acquiring and adding more water.

Senior staff of the MDBA claim they can’t tackle the big environmental issues such as carp infestation due to complicated legislative restraints.

If the MDBA can’t do it, then who can?

They have been gifted the legislative power and the expertise to restore river health in the Murray Darling Basin.

They’re supposed to be monitoring and managing nutrient loadings, including the salts, which are present in our waterways.

European Carp is a destructive pest species in Australian inland waters.

They helped transform our once clear flowing streams and rivers into a murky and turbid state.

Highly adaptable, they negatively impact our native fish populations and aquatic vegetation.

The Carp invasion can be compared to a rabbit plague: an underwater plague.

Some of us have been around for long enough to see the extraordinary damage this pest has wreaked by continuously stirring up sediment in our waterways.

Carp infestation is one of the single biggest environmental disasters in our river systems.

By the 1960s the Yanco and Boolara strains of carp were well established.

Heavy flooding in 1974 and again in 1993 assisted a massive breeding explosion.

Currently, the biomass of our rivers consists of 80-to-90 per cent of this highly destructive pest.

To environmentally water at unseasonal times aids the breeding of carp.

Flushing also further contributes to water turbidity, black water events, salt loading and excessive nutrient disturbance.

Instead of just splashing water around, shouldn’t we focus on cleaning out the carp?

Instead of just splashing water around, shouldn’t we focus on cleaning out the carp?

In specifically targeted areas where carp have been effectively eliminated, the improvement in water quality is nothing short of spectacular.

Complementary measures such as carp eradication and riparian zone management would be far more effective in improving river health and water quality.

The MDBA are not adequately acknowledging complementary measures and giving them a “water value” even though further water recovery is unlikely to provide additional environmental benefits.

Focusing on carp control plus other well researched, practical, management strategies would far better deliver the promised triple bottom line outcomes for regional communities and our waterways than just continually stirring up wetlands, streams, creeks and rivers.

***

RELATED

OPINION: A guarantee doesn't mean pulling the rug out from under our irrigators

OPINION: The arts can provide alternatives for kids

OPINION: For everyone’s sake, let’s talk about sex

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop