Snowy Flow Response Monitoring and Modelling program
The Snowy Mountains Scheme has affected the ecology of Snowy Mountain rivers and streams.
The Snowy Water Inquiry Outcomes Implementation Deed (SWIOID) 2002 is a legal instrument that the three partner governments entered into to give effect to the outcomes of the public Snowy Water Inquiry in 1998 and the corporatisation of the Snowy Scheme. The deed includes the water recovery targets for the Snowy, Murray and Snowy Montane Rivers Increased Flows programs.
Targets for the Increased Flows programs include returning the following volumes of water each year:
- Snowy River – 212 gigalitres (GL), or 21 per cent of the average natural flow
- Murray River – 70 GL
- Snowy Montane Rivers – up to the equivalent of up to 150 gigawatt hours of forgone electricity generation, which equates to up to 117.8 GL.
The NSW Office of Water is required to assess the ecological response of the Snowy River and Snowy Montane River Increased Flows. The Office of Water Snowy Flow Response Monitoring and Modelling (SFRMM) program was established in 2000 to assess the changes in river conditions that could be attributed to the Increased Flows.
The Snowy Flow Response Monitoring and Modelling program comprises of five components. These components include:
- Measurement of long term changes in environmental variables
- Temporal changes in key variables are assessed (i) using a reference condition approach or (ii) where there is no suitable reference condition a time series analysis is undertaken.
- The key river attributes assessed include river discharge, geomorphology, water quality, plants, water bugs and fish.
- Targeted research to address specific management objectives / actions
- Research is often undertaken over a 1-5 year time period to address specific water management questions.
- These water management questions may relate to short term responses to specific components of the current releases strategy (i.e. spring high flows) or more strategic directions such as 'defining the role of unregulated tributaries in providing ecosystem services to regulated Snowy Montane Rivers'.
- Development of models to assist with decision support.
- Models, such as hydrological, hydraulic and ecological models provide some key functions: (i) extending the predictive power of environmental data, (ii) assist with options analysis for water management decisions, and (iii) to communicate findings.
- Reporting and Evaluation
- Report to the public, government and the scientific community on the outcomes of the implementation of the Increased Flows.
- Evaluate water management strategies.
- Adaptive management of environmental water releases
- To provide scientific and technical support for the adaptive management of the Snowy River and Snowy Montane River Increased Flows.
- Establish long-term objectives, ecological end-points and long term river recovery strategies.
- Undertake experimental water releases to extend our understanding of environmental water delivery to Snowy Montane Rivers.
- Co-ordination of water committees in the Snowy Mountains.
- Scaling environmental flow releases in the Snowy River to unregulated snowmelt rivers of the Snowy Mountains (PDF 1.68 MB)
This report provides the rational for the hydro-scaling environmental water releases to the Snowy River (stage 4).
- Hydrological changes attributed to environmental flow release to the Snowy River, 2002-2005 (PDF 1.1 MB)
This report documents the hydrological changes to the Snowy River from environmental water releases from the Mowamba River (Stage 1).
- Field manual for identifying and mapping channel units in the Snowy River (PDF 1.8 MB)
This report is documents the field methods for mapping hydraulic changes to in-stream habitats.
- Hydraulic modelling to estimate threshold discharges for sediment entrainment in the Snowy River, Australia (PDF 1 MB)
This report provides an estimate of the discharge required to move sediment in the Snowy river below Jindabyne (Stage 1).
- Physical response to the spring 2010 environmental flow release to the Snowy River estuary (PDF 1.5 MB)
This report provides an assessment of the physical and salinity changes in the Snowy River estuary following 2010 flood (Stage3).
- Physical response to the spring 2011 environmental flow release to the Snowy River estuary (PDF 1.5 MB)
This report provides an assessment of the physical and salinity changes in the Snowy River estuary following 2011 flood (Stage3).
- Water quality in the Snowy River before and after the first environmental flow regime (PDF 1.2 MB)
This report provides an assessment of the water quality changes in the Snowy River following environmental water releases from the Mowamba River (Stage 1).
- Contribution of unregulated tributaries to the ecological functioning of the main channel of rivers (PDF 943 KB)
This report is a literature review of the possible benefits of unregulated tributary flows to regulated rivers (Stage 4).
- Impact of the 2002-03 wildfires on the macroinvertebrate assemblages of the Snowy River catchment (PDF 1 MB)
This report assesses the impact of wild fires on the macro invertebrate fauna of the Snowy River (Stage 1).
- Representativeness and efficiency of a laboratory sub-sampling method for the Snowy River macroinvertebrate samples (PDF 666 KB)
This report is primarily an assessment of the laboratory method.
- Response of aquatic macroinvertebrates to the first environmental flow regime in the Snowy River (PDF 2 MB)
This report documents the response of aquatic macroinvertabrates to the environmental water delivered to the Snowy River via the Mowamba Weir, autumn 2000 to autumn 2005 (Stage 1).
- The effect of Mowamba River and Jindabyne Dam environmental flow releases on macroinvertebrate assemblages in the Snowy River 2000-2008 (PDF 634 KB)
This report documents the response of aquatic macroinvertabrates to the environmental water delivered to the Snowy River via the Mowamba Weir and Jindabyne Dam (Stage 2).
- Changes in fish assemblages after the first flow releases to the Snowy River downstream of Jindabyne Dam (PDF 1 MB)
This study assesses the change in fish assemblages in the Snowy River after the releases from the Mowamba Weir (Stage 1).
- Hydraulic modelling of a fish barrier–Pinch Falls, Snowy River (PDF 2 MB)
This study assesses the suitability of hydraulic modelling techniques to assess a possible causative factor in the decline of Australian Bass in the Snowy River (Stage 3).
- Ecological response to the spring 2010 environmental flow release to the Snowy River below Jindabyne (PDF 615 KB)
This report provides a simple assessment of the response to the 2010 spring high flow release of 3,080 ML/day (Stage 3).
- Expert panel environmental flow assessment of various rivers affected by the Snowy Mountains Scheme (PDF 4 MB)
This is a very early expert panel assessment of the impacts of the Snowy Scheme on Montane Rivers.
Snowy River Increased Flows (SRIFs)
- Response to first Snowy EFR – River flow (PDF 247 KB)
- Response to first Snowy EFR – Physical and water quality response (PDF 890 KB)
- Response to first Snowy EFR – Water bugs (PDF 726 KB)
- Response to first Snowy EFR – Fish (PDF 593 KB)
This series of fact sheets define the response to the flow releases from Mowamba Weir to the Snowy River, 2002-2005 (Stage 1).
- Proposed flow release strategy for the Snowy River Increased Flows: 2013/14 (PDF 280 KB)
This fact sheet describes the 2013-14 release strategy (Stage 4).
- Outcomes of 2013/14 environmental releases for the Snowy River – Reworking the river bed sediment by re-introducing a new spring high flow regime (PDF 339 KB)
This fact sheet describes the outcomes of the 2013-14 spring releases (Stage 4).
- Proposed flow release strategy for the Snowy River Increased Flows: 2014/15 (PDF 270 KB)
This fact sheet describes the 2014-15 release strategy for SRIF (Stage 4).
Snowy Montane River Increased Flows
- Water quality response to the spring 2009 environmental flow release from Tantangara Dam to the Murrumbidgee River (PDF 223 KB)
This fact sheet describes the water quality response to the 2009 spring release to the Murrumbidgee River below Tanatangara.
The role of tributaries
- The potential drift-barrier effect of Mowamba Weir (PDF I MB)
This fact sheets define the impact of a small weir on the downstream passage of invertebrates.
Snowy River Increased Flows (SRIFs)
|Environmental water allocations to the Snowy River 2002-10 and constraints to Recovery.|
This presentation was presented at the Australian Society for Limnology in 2011 (Stage 3).
|Response to environmental flows in the Snowy River and factors limiting Recovery.|
This presentation was presented as a key note address to the Australian Water Association.
|Snowy River and Snowy Montane River Increased Flows.|
Implications for environmental water delivery to the Snowy River Estuary.
|Response of periphyton to environmental flows in the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam.|
|Relating vegetation response to flows using aerial photography and hydraulic modelling, Snowy River.|
|Functional responses to environmental flows: Linking benthic metabolism and dissolved organic carbon in the Snowy River.|
|Can tributary flows improve dissolved organic carbon delivery to a regulated snowmelt river?|
|Habitat response to a flow release, bushfire and flood in the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam.|
This presentation was presented to the The Australian Society for Limnology Thredbo Conference 30 Nov – 2 Dec 2010.
|Thermal and chemical stratification response to environmental flows in the Snowy River.|
Snowy Montane River Increased Flows (SMRIFs)
|The impacts of the Snowy Mountains Scheme on the invertebrate assemblages of the Montane Reaches of the Snowy River.|
This presentation was presented at the Australian Society for Limnology in 2009 and describes the impact of the Snowy Scheme below Guthega Dam and Island Bend Dams.
|Preliminary results from the spring 2011 flows to the Murrumbidgee and Snowy Rivers.|
Presentation to a joint workshop with ACTEW, SHL, NOW and the community in March 2012 (Stage 3).
Brooks A.J., Russell M., Bevitt, R. and Dasey M. (2011).Constraints on the recovery of invertebrate assemblages in a regulated snowmelt river during a tributary-sourced environmental flow regime. Marine and Freshwater Research 62, 1407-1420.
Coleman, D, and Williams, S. (2016). Mobilising fine sediment in a highly regulated upland snowmelt river using hydrological scaled experimental floods. Marine and Freshwater Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF15231
Hinwood, JB and McLean, EJ, (2014) Entrance changes in the Snowy River estuary in response to environmental flow releases. Australian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol 12(1), Special issue on Coasts and Oceans, the Institution of Engineers Australia, 2014.
McLean, E.J. and Hinwood, J.B. (2015) Response of the Snowy River Estuary to two environmental flows, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 125 (1).
Rohlfs, A, Mitrovic, S., Williams, S., and Coleman, D (2015). Can tributary in-flows improve the recovery of the dissolved organic carbon regime in a snowmelt river regulated by a large reservoir?. Marine and Freshwater Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF14230
Rohlfs, A, Mitrovic, S., Williams, S., Hitchcock J., and Rees G. (2016) Dissolved organic carbon delivery from managed flow releases in a montane snowmelt river. Aquat Sci (2016). doi:10.1007/s00027-016-0472-5.
The animation shows modelled river flows for the spring 2010 environmental flow release to the Snowy River downstream of Dalgety. The animation was derived from hydraulic modelling as part of the Snowy Flow Response Monitoring and Modelling Program.
Images of scientists working in the waterways of the Snowy Mountains. Click on the image to view or download larger version.
Take a trip down the Snowy River from the unregulated montane reaches via Guthega Dam, Island Bend Dam and Jindabyne Dam to the river mouth at Marlo.
The following presentation contains a series of photographs taken at key locations along the Snowy River by staff from the NSW Office of Water and the former Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (now Local Land Services).