Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Project

River red gums in Perricoota-Koondrook Forest.

The iconic Koondrook-Perricoota Forest is an extensive forest of river red gums and woodlands. It is the second-largest red gum forest in Australia and covers approximately 33,750 hectares along the Murray River. It is located south-west of Deniliquin between the towns of Echuca in the east and Barham in the west. Before river regulation was introduced in the early 1900s, the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest experienced regular flooding for three to five months once every four years.

In more recent times the flood frequency duration is approximately once every 12 years. This change has meant a decline in both the productivity of the wetland and the health of the ecosystem. The forest’s wetlands and floodplains provide habitat for many species of plants, fish, reptiles, birds and marsupials that are endangered. The forest is also valued for its cultural heritage and its economic and recreational uses.

About the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Flow Enabling Works Project

The Koondrook-Perricoota Flow Enabling Works Project is one of the projects to be brought forward through the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) Acceleration Program.

The SDLAM program is designed to achieve similar or improved environmental outcomes for rivers, wetlands and wildlife using less water. It is part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The Koondrook-Perricoota accelerated works project, aims to mitigate third party impacts on landholders adjacent to the forest whose properties are inundated as water releases into the forest. Rectifying these impacts will enable inundation of at least 30 per cent of river red gum forest and keep the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest in an ecologically healthy condition.

This will create increased breeding opportunities for thousands of native waterbirds, as well as healthy populations of resident native fish in the wetlands.

Project details

The project will include the:

  • construction of 6.2km of critical levees enabling higher flows to be delivered via existing TLM offtake channels
  • removal and replacement of Sandy Bridge (over Barbers Creek) to allow increased load limits
  • removal and replacement of the Woodara and Widderin block banks with structures enabling higher passing flows
  • replacement of the Bookit and Merribit regulators enabling the passing of increased flows with additional operational flexibility
  • replacement of the Little Barbers Creek offtake regulator (Culvert) to increase capacity and enable higher passing flows
  • replacement of the Thule Lagoon Regulator to protect private property and increase efficiency of water delivery.

Project benefits

The Koondrook-Perricoota project will complement and complete a significant investment in infrastructure within the Koondrook- Perricoota Forest to realise benefits, such as:

  • improved forest ecosystem
  • improved native fish habitat
  • enhanced tourism opportunities
  • enhanced recreational opportunities
  • connecting community to healthier country.

Visit the website for more project information

Stakeholder engagement

Communities will be at the heart of the Koondrook-Perricoota project. We are committed to working in partnership to deliver outcomes with broad community support.

We are committed to working in collaboration with the community. We will provide numerous opportunities for local communities and stakeholders to have their say throughout the development and delivery phases of the project.

Upcoming engagement opportunities will be listed on this webpage and on our stakeholder engagement page.

Water Infrastructure NSW will work with local landholders, First Nations and communities to:

  • progress several smaller infrastructure projects including, addressing inundation extent and resolving issues around several instream structures
  • meet the engagement and information needs of stakeholders
  • develop opportunities for ongoing local involvement through citizen science projects
  • develop a pathway forward through collaboration to achieve enhanced ecological and cultural outcomes.

Engagement with First Nations people

We recognise and acknowledge the unique relationship and deep Connection to Country that First Nations people have as the Traditional Owners and First Peoples of Australia.

The wisdom and experience of First Nations communities will play a critical role in delivering the Koondrook-Perricoota project.

We have a dedicated engagement team who will guide our engagement with these communities, and we look forward to working with them to deliver real, tangible and widely accepted outcomes.