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Mallee Case Study

Catfish, Cormorants, canoes and so much more!


Merbein Common, which is the Traditional Country of the First Peoples
of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal


  • 4 engagement events
  • 1 plan
  • 1 publication
  • 2 waterway structures


$2 million Building Works capital stimulus package 2020 – Waterway Environmental Works component September 2020 – December 2023


First People of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (DEECA)

Regional strategies

Mallee Regional Catchment Strategy
2022–28, Mallee Waterway Management
Strategy (MWMS)

From more catfish to better canoeing, there’s a whole lot of benefits set to roll when natural wetting and drying cycles return to Catfish Billabong in Victoria’s far north-west.

Along the Murray River, there’s countless wetlands and billabongs that no longer have healthy wetting and drying phases due to the impacts of river regulation. Catfish Billabong is just one of these, but thanks to the installation of an environmental regulator, the surrounding River Red Gums, 29 fauna and 12 flora species that depend on this wetland will soon see wetting and drying cycles reinstated.

Catfish Billabong is a 65-hectare wetland situated within the Merbein Common Flagship Waterway Site, just 15 kilometres west of Mildura on the banks of the majestic Murray River. Not only is it a haven for native fish and birds, it’s also steeped in cultural values and a much-loved destination for local community members.

An existing inlet channel had intermittently connected the billabong to the Murray River, but river regulation and weir pool levels led to saplings growing in the channel and raising its height, meaning it naturally connected less and less often to the river.

Through the installation of an environmental regulator, the flow through the inlet channel will be managed and native species will be able to thrive. The billabong will cycle between phases of inundation and drying to provide the best possible outcomes for the environment. Additional benefits will include the ability for Traditional Owners to inform ecological watering cycles to support cultural knowledge and values for the site; and everyone will be able to enjoy a healthy wetland offering great fishing, canoeing, camping, bird watching and hiking.

Additional works will also be completed at the site to complement the project, such as track improvement works, carpark areas, visitor signage and seating.

Native Catfish.  Image Mallee CMA

Native catfish Image: Mallee CMA