40,000 megalitres of water has been allocated in the lower Murrumbidgee, New South Wales, to help protect the area’s wetlands.

“Water delivery commenced early this month to wetlands including those in Nimmie-Caira, Yanga National Park, Fiddlers and Uara Creeks and the Western Lakes,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“Commonwealth environmental water is protecting and restoring the health of the Murray-Darling Basin environment by creating the conditions necessary to support native plants and animals as well as improving water quality, especially through flushing salt out of the system,” he said.

“This latest watering action is supporting river red gum and black box wetlands that also happen to be home to New South Wales’s largest known population of the vulnerable southern bell frog. Once abundant along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers and their tributaries, today in New South Wales the frog is only found in scattered locations.

“We’ve seen a healthy number of southern bell frog tadpoles in this area so we’re confident this latest water release will improve their habitat and build their numbers.

“The release builds on substantial watering by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder in recent years,” he said.

During 2012-13 the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder partnered with the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage to deliver environmental flows totalling 156 gigalitres.

“Monitoring by scientists in the area since 2011 shows native fish, such as bony bream and golden perch, increase in abundance when environmental water is delivered, while others take advantage of the higher river flows to move, feed and spawn,” Senator Birmingham said.

“We’ve also seen environmental water contributing to maintaining the health and sustainability of water birds and providing habitat for wetland native animals including fish, frogs, turtles and crustaceans.”

Commonwealth watering is undertaken in consultation with the Murrumbidgee Environmental Water Advisory Group and local landholders.