Many Hands reopen Bemm River mouth
Wednesday 5 June, 2013
The Bemm River mouth was successfully reopened to the sea last Thursday thanks to the combined efforts of a local taskforce. Armed only with shovels, seven Parks Victoria staff, four Department of Environment and Primary Industry crew plus six local volunteers dug out the opening in just one and a half hours.
The team had their work cut out for them; the sand bar was 40 metres across and 1.5m high with a sharp drop away into the ocean. Reports and photos taken later that day by local resident Mark Cunningham showed a good sized channel had developed from the initial opening and a large amount of water was heading out to sea.
Testing of oxygen levels both at surface and lower water levels was done before the entrance was opened to make sure that if the opening closed prematurely, there would be adequate oxygen levels in the system for fish to survive.
Parks Victoria’s Mike Irvine says the system is now operating as a tidal estuary rather than a closed system.
“Sydenham Inlet, through which the Bemm River flows to the sea, has now dropped by a metre and half and is not in danger of flooding farmland, roads, picnic areas or other infrastructure in the township of Bemm River.
Thanks to East Gippsland CMA, which authorized the work, and all those involved, the reopening was done quickly and at the right time.”
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