DEG's River Rangers are out on the rivers and other waterways in DEG's area of interest daily. They are the organisation's eyes and ears, and notice the appalling condition of the rivers. In February 2023 the team documented dead dhagaay - yellowbelly
(Macquaria ambigua) floating down the Baawan River from somewhere upstream of Walgett, while at Walgett the oxygen levels were so low the carp were going crazy gasping for air. We were advised that the oxygen monitor at Walgett on the Barwon River at Dangar Bridge had been out of order for months. DEG notified colleagues in Water NSW, NSW Fisheries, OzFish, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and independent scientists working for UNSW and CSU. In August 2023 the River Rangers documented dead biirrnga - bony bream (Nematalosa erebi) again in the Baawan.
DEG no longer accepts dying rivers and ecosystems and other impacts of industrial agriculture as more symptoms of invasion and dispossession that cannot be changed. Instead, DEG documents and reports regularly the condition of the rivers to the government agencies who are tasked with managing them. DEG also uses local observations to let the wider Australia know about the ecocide happening in the Northern Murray Darling Basin because we know that Australia has signed international conventions and has laws that if complied with, would not allow it.
DEG is using western science and law to give irrefutable evidence to decisionmakers of the alternative path to wellbeing for the public good that they could be taking. Conservative power brokers attack DEG and the experts it consult - saying it is cruel to be giving hope to the Walgett Aboriginal community - when instead we should accept the situation and try to benefit financially from water trading and cotton game. This is the battle DEG has today - when governments and their out of control beaurocrats try to distract with meaningless consultations re Aboriginal Water while the rivers and the life that depends on them are dying.