The Upper Murrumbidgee meanders through the Snowy Mountains in south‐eastern New South Wales, snaking its way south, then turning north before dropping into the lowland and heading west to join the Murray downstream of Swan Hill. The Upper ‘Bidgee floodplain is only a couple of hundred metres wide, a stark contrast to the kilometres‐wide floodplains in other parts of the Murray‐Darling Basin. When the floods come, they come up quickly and roar through the narrow valleys.
Since Europeans arrived the health of the river and its fish has been shaped by the people who came to live there and the industries that developed. Mining and grazing, and the development of Canberra brought new people with new needs. Once, river levels would rise with the spring snow melt before falling slowly over the summer. Today the snow melt is collected in Tantangara Dam before being returned to the ‘Bidgee below Burrinjuck Dam. The river between these dams is a shadow of its former self.
These are the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngarigo peoples. They fished the river and surrounding waterways and the seasonal rise and fall of the water guided their travels and featured in their stories.
(Source: Frawley, J., Nichols, S., Goodall, H. and Baker, E. 2011. Upper Murrumbidgee: Talking fish, making connections with the rivers of the Murray‐Darling Basin, Murray‐Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.)
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