As of May 2023, we currently manage where the Anglesea River mouth meets the ocean
About the Anglesea River
The Anglesea River is a continuous stream river of the Corangamite catchment, located in the Otways.
The river is highly valued by the local community, and its health plays an important role in the region’s broader ecological integrity. Additionally, the river is enjoyed by the broader Surf Coast communities and is situated within a popular holiday destination for many Victorians.
The Anglesea River has experienced lower than average summer water flows since 2015. This has led to poor river health, reduced recreational values and increased risk of coastal acid sulphate soil (CASS) activation in the estuary.
These impacts build on decades of declining health within the Anglesea catchment; most notably acidity fluctuations that create negative environmental impacts (such as fish kills) and social impacts (reduction of recreational activities, like swimming and fishing).
Status of the river
The Anglesea River remains safe for local and visitor communities to enjoy water-based recreation.
In late 2022 with the persistent heavy rain, the Anglesea River reconnected with the ocean. This provided an opportunity for fish migration into the river and improved water quality, which has been welcomed by local residents and anglers.
However, in early January the river mouth closed, with reduced flows from the upper catchment tributaries of Salt Creek and Marshy Creek. This caused the river level to drop, which in turn increases the risk of activating acid sulphate soils within the estuary.
As at May 2023, the Anglesea River is at an adequate level to prevent additional acid sulphate soil activation.
Releasing stored water into the river
It’s fundamental that the river levels of the river do not continue to drop.
Since 2016, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Surf Coast Shire Council and Barwon Water have collaborated to collect and store water from the Anglesea River during the winter-spring period and pump it back in over the drier summer months.
These supplemental flows maintain water levels in the estuary and deliver social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits to the local community.
Our formal position on the management and health of the Anglesea River and catchment is consistent with our commitment to evidence-based decision making and listening to the community.
1. The Anglesea River is highly valued by the Anglesea community, and its health plays a fundamental role in the region’s broader ecological integrity.
2. Evidence-based decision making is the basis for all management decisions regarding the short- and long-term remediation of the Anglesea River and catchment.
3. Future groundwater extraction from the Anglesea catchment is only supported when there is sufficient evidence that such activities do not detrimentally impact the river and catchments health.
We will continue our participation on the Anglesea River Community and Stakeholder Reference Group, and our contribution on the Anglesea River Options Identification project.
Our priority is to monitor and protect the Anglesea River and we’ll keep you updated along the way.