The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s (CEWH) Science Program funds the Flow Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (Flow–MER).

We would like to acknowledge the Kurnu-Baakandji Peoples, the Traditional Owners of the Warriku (Warrego) and Baaka (Darling) Rivers and surrounds. Thank you for sharing your Country and knowledge of the land, water and life with us. We pay respects to Elders past and present.

Traditional Paakantyi Language of the Kurnu-Baakandji Nation used in this article. (L. A. Hercus – Paakantyi Dictionary), additional to learnings from interacting with community members and the Junction of the Warriku (Warrego) and Baaka (Darling) Rivers Selected Areas Culture Advisor.



Rainfall at Bourke since Oct 1st totaled 94 mm, with the majority falling in late November. Temperatures ranged from a minimum of 21.7 °C to a maximum of 43.8 °C.

Figure 1 Rainfall and temperature recorded at Bourke Airport AWS NSW (048245) from the 1 October to 18 December 2023.

Culgoa River flows peaked at 1,159 ML/d on the 13th of December (Figure 2), due to widespread rainfall across the QLD section of the northern basin. During the same rain event, a small flow peak occurred in the Warriku (Warrego) River peaking at 1,159 ML/d at Cunumulla. This flow is unlikely to make it all the way to the Darling confluence. No flow was registered in the lower Warriku River this quarter.

Figure 2 Discharge ML/d within the Upper Warriku from the 1 October to 18 December 2023.

Flow in the Baawan-Baaka (Barwon-Darling) River was relatively stable during October and November, before increasing in the upper Barwon due primarily to inflows from the Moonie system upstream of Collarenebri. flows peaked at Collarenebri at 6,495 ML/d on the 7th of December and at Dangar Bridge (Walgett) at 5,147 ML/d on the 10th of December.

Figure 3 Discharge ML/d within the Baawan-Baaka (Barwon-Darling) from the 1 October to 18 December 2023.


Surveys were completed in the Warriku (Warrego) and Baaka (Darling), with eDNA samples collected at all sites along with electrofishing and netting. 100-200mm long golden perch and Hyrtl’s tandan were caught in the Warriku. Five endangered olive perchlet, as well as some rainbowfish and other small fish were surveyed in the Baaka, which have not been sampled in the catchment for a number of years (Figure 4). In October and November 2023 stocking of ‘advanced’ sized Murray cod (~220 mm in length) was completed between Louth and Bourke into the Baaka. Some of these fish were tagged to allow their movement to be tracked in the future.

Figure 4 Rainbowfish species caught in the Baaka (Darling) River. Photo credit DPI Fisheries.

Water Quality

Spring sampling for water quality and food webs was completed in October (Figure 5), with a second round of sampling completed in mid-December. Conditions at many of the sites were already quite dry in October, with more sites dry again during the December monitoring.

Figure 5 Rachel collecting water quality samples at Boera Dam, October 2023. Photo credit Felix Noble.


Water across the vegetation sites has continued to recede, with ephemeral annual species covering most of the sites. On the Western Floodplain, sites that were recently inundated, such as the lignum shrubland sites, were in good condition with many ground-cover seedlings growing vigorously where water had recently receded (Figure 6). In the drier coolibah woodland sites, trees were in good condition in response to the previous three wet years, but the ground layer vegetation has now largely died and/ or disappeared as conditions have dried.

Figure 6 Lignum site on the Warriku, October 2023. Photo credit David Mackay.


We produce a range of communication products each quarter to help tell the story of the wetlands we study, the people that study them and the cultures that depend on and care for them. All our stories can be found on the 2rog Consulting website News page, and are shared on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Below is a snapshot of some of the communications and engagement activities we achieved this quarter:

  • Caught up with our Cultural Advisors Kerrie and Kevin, as well as CEWH staff Jane Humphries, Jason Wilson and Chrissy Jeffries in Moree on the 5th to 6th Oct 2023
  • The whole UNE, 2rog and DPI Fisheries Gwydir and Warrego team members caught up in Armidale to speak about Flow-MER 1.5 and upcoming MER 2.0 on the 25th Oct 2023
  • Mark Southwell presented at the MDBA’s Science Section – Feast of Facts Presentation Series about monitoring of the Warriku-Baaka (Warrego-Darling) Selected Area on the 17th Nov 2023
  • Paul Frazier and Kevin Knight were both interviewed by Dr Ruth O’Connor in early Nov 2023 to contribute to her international graduate course on public policy. The topic was in relation to Toorale and the role of science and indigenous science in informing public policy.
  • Tamara Kermode attended the December Northern Basin Regional Community Forum. This forum is held on a quarterly basis and is open to any people from the Northern Basin Communities who want to contribute and share their knowledge. To learn about the previous forums and to participate follow this link:

Our stories this past quarter covered a range of topics to read them follow the links below:

To read about the other Selected Areas in the Murray Darling Basin go to the Flow-MER website.

Figure 7 Cultural advisor catchup featured in the story ‘Catching up with our Cultural Advisors’. Photo credit Café worker.
Kurnu-Baakandji Traditional Name English Name
Warriku Warrego River
Baaka Darling River
Yurli Duck
Kurlarku Brolga
Thaapuru Catfish
Partntu Murray cod
Muuluru Rakali
Kumparla Collibah

Managing water for the environment is a collective and collaborative effort, working in partnership with communities, private landholders, scientists and government agencies – these contributions are gratefully acknowledged.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, work and play. We also pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.