The Sydney Knitting Nannas and Friends visit to the Macquarie Marshes inspired them to protect it and Nanna Sue Gee painted this picture of the area. Since then we have heard about the NSW Government’s proposed plan to replace the old weir at Gin Gin with a ‘super weir’ and we invited Mel Gray to tell us more about it on Zoom. But we are not the only ones concerned about this proposal.
A public meeting was held on Wednesday night in Dubbo about the proposed Gin Gin dam. One hundred people came to the meeting, exceeding expectations. There was standing room only.
“The questions from the crowd showed the level of interest and concern for the Gin Gin proposal and other issues,” said Di Clifford, Vice President of the Dubbo Environment Group.
It was a rare opportunity to hear from a range of experts and experienced locals with decades of knowledge about the Macquarie valley.
Trangie local Tony Lees spoke passionately about his connection with the river and the popular camp site at Gin Gin. Everything is connected, he reminded us.
Professor Richard Kingsford’s expertise covers river ecology, wetland ecology, waterbirds, river policy, and dam building effects. His presentation explained the significant impacts that dams have on rivers and wetlands. He also explained how water management in NSW is letting us down, and how Government ‘models’ aren’t reflecting what water is actually in the rivers.
Beverley Smiles, the president of the Inland Rivers Network, has been involved in environmental water management in the Macquarie since 1991. As Ms Smiles explained, native fish would be significantly impacted by the Gin Gin structure, losing over 32km of habitat. Populations of threatened Murray Cod are struggling to build up after the catastrophic 2017-19 drought when the river was cut off at Warren. The last thing they need is a massive dam destroying their habitat and allowing even more water to be taken out of the river.
The other speaker was Garry Hall, a private Ramsar Wetland manager from the Macquarie Marshes.