While there has been a lot of attention on the West Moorabool and the Lower Moorabool Rivers in recent years the East Moorabool River has tended to get a little ignored. It suffers greatly from over allocation of its water resources particularly due to the fact that a high proportion of its flows are channelled down to the Barwon Water's She Oaks Treatment Plant rather than having the run of the river as happens in the West Branch. But there are still some very beautiful spots to be found, particularly around the Bungal Forest and further north.
Access via the Crossing Track was not an option so entry was gained from the northern part of the park. Our visit this time was not only to do some more gorse removal but also to make our way to the confluence between the East Moorabool and Bungal Creeks.
After about a 5 km walk in off the ridge we were pleased to find Bungal Creek with a small flow. Some of the larger pools looked relatively healthy and the water was reasonably clear.
While there remains relatively high turbidity in many of the pools the water moving over the riffles seemed clearer.
The confluence was a little tricky to get to and is impacted by blackberries directly downstream. But it still proved to be a pretty spot.
Further upstream turbity becomes more of an issue in the East Moorabool but the are some really high value sections. While gorse infestation is evident it is still at a manageable level. There is some evidence of Park's Victoria spraying in the southern section but the eastern part of the park the weed is in isolated clumps out of easy reach.
We are planning a return soon to do another round of gorse removal and would welcome any volunteers who would like to visit what is a beautiful part of this remakable river and assist with its maintenance. Contact can be made through this site.
The East Moorabool River is deserving of renewed efforts in restoring flows. The evidence of gold mining operations some of which can be seen instream serve as a reminder of just how much this river has had to contend with. The scars within the landscape are healing and it is sobering to recognise that past impacts have probably allowed this section of the river to arrive to us as a welcomed forested refuge.
One of the lesser known features on the West Moorabool are the Granite Falls. Situated downstream of the Moorabool Falls below Salt Creek they are characterised by a curtain of cascades over a broad granite span. The right hand section facing upstream has water springing from fissures in the face. The area is badly infested with blackberry bushes but despite this the beauty of the site is quite evident.
On the 29th of December 2016 a group of us met at a site on the Moorabool below Meredith to view the annual movement of hundreds of juvenile short finned eels up the river. These creatures, barely 20cm long, are finishing their several thousand kilometer journey from the Coral Sea. The peak of the migration occurs between Christmas and New year.
This beautiful section of the river with its deep pools, tumbling falls and high cliffs made for a perfect place from which to observe this remarkable event.
We were also keen to measure the depths at the site as the CCMA is currently undertaking a project identifying habitat pools and were interested in a comparison. With a rudimentary setup (boogie board, 2kg weight and 10mts of 10mm rope) we took over 20 soundings in each of the two pools. The depth in both was impressive with the lower pool measuring and astounding 8.85 meters. At this time we believe it is the deepest natural section of the river.
Our thanks go to Peter and his family for allowing us to visit this amazing section of the Moorabool River.
After a week of substantial rainfall the river finally got going. Lal lal falls were spectacular as were the Moorabool Falls. Visiting the river at Batesford the next day revealed a silent, muscular river making its way toward the Barwon. These flows have definately provided the scouring action the river has sorley needed. While there was some evidence of overbank flows it wasn't all that widespread.
Below is a series of short clips taken on the 14th and 15th of September. The lens on my phone suffered a wee accident so apologies for the spotty nature of the footage.
After visiting a little over a month ago and seeing only a few drips of water coming down the face of the falls despite reasonable rain it was heartening to find the falls in action.
This had been what we found in late May after a week of showers. Nonexistant flows.
It is a stark reminder of how much water is needed to first fill the onstream dams along the Lal Lal before flows are able to make their way downstream.
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