A NSW Government website


Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Project

Mitigating third-party impacts of water releases on landholders adjacent to the forest.

River red gums in Perricoota-Koondrook Forest.

About the 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 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 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 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.

Fact sheet

Learn more about the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Project.

Download the fact sheet (PDF 285KB)

Project status

Water Infrastructure NSW is working towards the completion of the detailed design for this project, with the Sheer Paddock Levee package already well progressed.

In addition to the delivery of a concept design, the document includes Basis of Design reports, preliminary procurement, delivery and operational plans, and approvals processes for each of the project components.

The planning, liaison and modelling necessary to inform these documents is underway. An Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment is progressing in collaboration with the Joint Indigenous Group, and consultation with affected landowners and key stakeholders is ongoing.

Stakeholder engagement

We are working closely with the Koondrook Perricoota Alliance, Wakool Rivers Association, Western Murray Land Improvement Group other key stakeholders who are at the heart of the project. Water Infrastructure NSW is 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 have your say 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 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.

Contact us

For more information call us on 1300 081 047 or email us at: water.enquiries@dpie.nsw.gov.au