Algae needs attention
LAKE Bolac residents want a solution to this perennial blue green algae problem, that can last several months per year.
I take great exceptions to the comments of the chief ranger of Parks Victoria, Siobhan Rogan, who said: "Initial advice we have received is that because of Lake Bolac’s shallow depth and large size of 1400 hectares, floating treatment wetlands would be ineffective. Such concepts would require consultation with the catchment manager, Glenelg Hopkins CMA.”
Those “floating islands" need to be installed – even if we have to wait for 'consultation' with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA. But that's really only an administrative management function. Tick the box now and be done with it.
As a matter of fact, doing nothing, as in the past eight years, is ineffective.
Now let’s consider: The lake is 1400 hectares, but it's only at present 50 per cent full with a depth of 80cm to 100cm at the very most.
Those floating islands with their water plants, where the roots would be 30cm to 50cm into the top-level of the water, would soak up most, or all, of the nutrients underneath and in close vicinity of those islands.
The islands don't need to be actually “floating” around the lake, if that is what is worrying any people or department, thinking they may be a hazard in some way. Sure, they will be “floating” out in the water, but at anchor and they can be frequently moved around.
Surely we would find plenty of local volunteers to help with that sort of thing because they will know they are helping their lake and their town. They already know from recent past experience that if the lake dies, so does the town.
And it's not just the floating islands that can be employed – there are also ultrasonic algae controls. The same, or similar, algae control can be achieved in very large areas, like Lake Bolac. Please go ahead and Google it and perhaps pass it on to Parks Victoria.
Once the proverbial hits the fan, it is quite usual that public servants jump into action.
At present the blue-green algae problems and fish deaths in Queensland and NSW are getting the attention – finally – that they deserve and as we speak, air pumps, that pump oxygen into the water will be a temporary but useful solution.
Why did this environmental disaster have to happen in the first place? Whatever action is taken is nothing but a band-aid solution – but it's better than nothing.
Do we need to have fish die off here in our lakes and waterways before something is done? I have been told that on the east-side of Lake Bolac, there at least 20 dead trout – so it seems the fish die-off has started here as well.
Frank Deutsch, Lake Bolac
TWO years ago I railed against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) for its poor river management which resulted in an unnecessary, catastrophic flood and a range of unacceptable environmental consequences.
Now we have the opportunity to question its ability to manage the resource and the river during a dry time.
The one thing that remains clear is the MDBA is unable to fulfil its responsibilities and we are left with disgruntled and angry communities and environmental disasters.
The MDBA need to start taking proactive steps to address the damage which has been caused over the past decade, instead of blaming everything else. Leadership is about accepting responsibility and providing unity and cohesive solutions in difficult times.
In a recent interview Phillip Glyde, chief executive of the MDBA, said the Basin Plan was “trying to correct 100 years of over-allocation”.
The recent fish kills should be telling authorities that their management of the water resource is making the system worse, not better. In 94 of the 100 years that the system was supposedly “over-allocated” there were recordings of fish kill deaths but none were of the magnitude of those we’ve seen recently, including the devastating event in the Menindee Lakes.
Blackwater events have also increased. Since 2009 there have been four major hypoxic blackwater events in the Edward and Wakool River systems, killing hundreds of thousands of native fish. The authorities first used flooding as their excuse, now drought is their excuse.
The only major change in the past 10 years, compared to the rest of the past century, has been the 2007 Water Act and the fact that the major owner of water is the Commonwealth Government.
This has led to a major change in the management of the river systems. It used to be run by the states but now is under the control of the Commonwealth and MDBA. It seems pretty obvious that’s where the problem lies.
The question needs to be asked, where has all the water gone? In late 2016 we had floods and most of the Basin was at 100 per cent capacity, with Menindee Lakes at 96.5 per cent. Just over two years later these lakes are nearly empty and we have what is being termed a “natural” disaster on a global scale. But it’s not a natural disaster, it’s a man-made disaster.
The damage being caused to both the environment and rural communities could have been avoided if the MDBA had listened to the rural communities that live in the Basin.
It’s time they stepped up, so we can re-focus our efforts and develop a plan that works. This needs to be done alongside communities, instead of continually working against them.
I would ask all agricultural representative bodies to call for the resignation of Mr Glyde as CEO of the MDBA and Neil Andrews as chairman of the same body.
Harold Clapham, Deniliquin