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The Snowy River estuary at Marlo is open and looking constricted due to low summer flows and sand build up on the dune system.

 

Snowy River estuary at Marlo

A semi-permanent entrance is maintained through the dune barrier at Marlo.

Pattern of closures

In the 11 years between 1998 and 2007 the estuary closed on eight occasions. The closures have typically occurred in autumn as a result of low summer flows. Another contributing factor is the sea conditions and wind direction prior to closure.

Location of flooding

The main impact from the closure of the estuary is the inundation of agricultural land. About 5000 hectares can become inundated depending on estuary fill rates, of which 1850 hectares is private land, when the water level reaches 0.9m (the level that results in a successful opening).

A fish death resulting from de-oxygenation in Cabbage Tree Creek is a risk associated with an artificial opening. Ideally, an opening would be timed to occur following heavy rainfall in the Cabbage Tree Creek catchment.

Level required for a successful opening

The lowest tides possible and water levels within the estuary of 0.9m (as indicated on the gauge at Marlo) provide the conditions at which an artificial opening may be successful.

A channel is excavated at the narrowest point in the sand bar and excavated from the seaward side.

Responsibility for an opening

A decision to attempt an artificial opening will be made by the East Gippsland CMA and Parks Victoria. The actual opening will be undertaken by Parks Victoria.

Location of gauge

The gauge is mounted on the jetty at Marlo.