The Upper Murray


The Upper Murray - centred around Barmah-Millewa Forest and potentially including lower reaches of adjacent tributaries (Goulburn and Campaspe) and parts of the Edward-Wakool system

The Ramsar-listed Barmah-Millewa Forest is one of four key research sites in the Murray–Darling Basin EWKR project. The Forest covers 66,000 hectares along the Edwards and Murray Rivers between the towns of Tocumwal, Echuca and Deniliquin, as on the map below.

The Barmah-Millewa Forest contains the largest River Red Gum forest in Australia, and is the largest and most intact freshwater floodplain system along the Murray River. More than 380 native plant species and 221 native vertebrate species including birds, fish and reptiles have been recorded in Barmah Forest. When flooded, the Forest is a favoured breeding habitat for large colonies of waterbirds.

In Victoria, the Barmah Forest also supports the most extensive area of Moira grass plains in the State, despite recent declines. This aquatic grass is listed as a ‘critical wetland type’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999, providing nesting sites for migratory birds, nursery sites for fish, and refuge for frogs, as well as underpinning the ecosystem’s water dynamics.

The Barmah-Millewa Forest sustains large numbers of migratory birds, including 13 species listed under international migratory bird treaties between Australia and China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and 23 species listed under the Bonn Convention on Migratory Species (MDBA, 2012).

There are more than 50 water-management structures in place throughout the Barmah-Millewa Forest each with a specific purpose and design that enables regulators to release water to particular areas at different times of the year. This infrastructure gives EWKR unique opportunities to test water-management strategies.

The EWKR research teams working on vegetation, fish and waterbirds themes will carry out on-site studies in the Barmah-Millewa Forest in 2017.

The Upper Murray - Map supplied by Department of the Environment and Energy

Wetland with aquatic vegetation at Millewa Forest. Aquatic plants include Robust Water-milfoil (Myriophyllum papillosum)., Azolla sp and Duckweed (Lemna sp) Photo: Fiona Freestone (MDFRC)

River Red Gum forest with Poong’ort (Carex tereticaulis) understorey at Barmah Forest Photo: Fiona Freestone (MDFRC)


Murray-Darling Basin Authority 2012b, Barmah-Millewa Forest: Environmental Water Management Plan 2012.

MDBC (Murray–Darling Basin Commission) 2006, The Barmah–Millewa Forest icon site environmental management plan 2006–2007, MDBC, Canberra.