Council opens Painkalac Creek estuary
AFTER consulting with various other councils and agencies, the Surf Coast Shire opened the estuary mouth at Painkalac Creek in Aireys Inlet last Thursday.
This follows the illegal opening of an estuary at Thomspson Creek by an unknown party a week earlier.
While the council had held off opening the Thompson Creek estuary due to the environmental benefits of the flooding, they decided the high amounts of rain forecast meant that not opening Painkalac Creek would pose a serious risk to built infrastructure.
From Thursday to Monday, Aireys Inlet recorded more than 40ml of rain.
To minimise the risk of a fish kill the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) asked Barwon Water to release some water from the Painkalac Dam to coincide with estuary opening.
This helped ensure sediments and biofilms moved down the creek to maintain the water’s quality.
The illegal opening at Thomspon Creek meant that no such precautionary measures could be taken. However, there have been no reports of fish kills in the area yet.
Along with the other relevant councils and groups, the Corangamite CMA are continuing to monitor Thompson Creek for any adverse effects from the illegal opening. They report the water levels there have dropped by over a metre.
The flooding caused by the heightened water levels around Thompson Creek had proved a divisive matter in the community. While certain roads and properties were largely covered with water, the Surf Coast Shire, along with the other relevant councils and agencies, had left the mouth closed.
If you do notice any fish, crustaceans or eels that are dead or struggling in our estuaries, phone the Environment Protection Authority Victoria on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).