For the first time in two years, the Darling River is flowing again and has, at last, reached the Murray River. While not drought breaking for the Murray-Darling Basin, heavy rain in QLD injected much needed water into the system, allowing the Menindee lakes to refill and water restrictions in the basin to be eased slightly. The flow was tightly controlled to ensure no mass fish-kills occurred like in 2018 when natural flows left millions of fish dead. Scientists and authorities are hoping for more rain to further boost water levels but until then, the temporary relief has been much welcomed.
Whale carcass washed ashore in SA
The carcass of a young whale has been found on a remote beach in SA and is believed to be a relatively rare species of fin whale. The South Australian museum is taking samples to identify the species which, if indeed is a fin whale, will allow scientists to gain significant knowledge about the species. Authorities plan to leave the whale on the beach to rot as it is relatively isolated and in order to allow the whale carcass to be returned into the ecosystem.
Federal government unveils energy roadmap
The Australian federal government has released their discussion paper titled technology investment roadmap which aims to drive public and private investment in technologies that will aid the shift to renewable energy. While the paper acknowledges that wind and solar energies are the cheapest forms of energy, it maintains that gas will be crucial in the transition to renewables. Experts are sceptical of the lack of a strong commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 in the roadmap. The paper is currently open for feedback.
Man avoids fine for freeing baby humpback whale from shark nets
Django, a recreational diver on Queensland’s Gold Coast, has been hailed a hero on social media after he saved a baby humpback whale. The whale was tangled in shark nets about 8 meters deep, with a fin wrapped in the net. While inspectors had warned that the man could face a $26 000 fine for entering an exclusion zone, this fine has now been revoked. A fundraiser that had already raised $16 000 to cover the fine will now likely go towards a whale research institute.
EPA admits need for greater transparency over chemical spills
The Environmental protection authority has conceded that its failure to notify the public about two chemical leaks in 2017 which contaminate groundwater and caused mass fish-kills. In the past, the EPA only publicly reported incidents that posed a risk to public health however they will now also be required to report on incidents with a high public interest. They are in the process of making information and reports more accessible in the hope that more public awareness will help to put pressure on companies that are destroying the environment.