The major rivers of the East Gippsland region includes the Mitchell, Nicholson, Tambo, Snowy, Bemm, Cann, Thurra and Genoa Rivers. The region includes the city of Bairnsdale along with the coastal towns of Paynesville, Metung, Lakes Entrance, and Mallacoota and the hinterland towns of Dargo, Bruthen, Buchan, Omeo, Swifts Creek, Orbost, Cann River and Genoa.
These rivers are amongst Victoria’s and Australia’s most valuable environmental and heritage assets. These river systems flow to the Southern Ocean through extensive and very important estuarine systems, including the Gippsland Lakes the estuaries of the Snowy and Bemm Rivers, the Inlets of Tamboon and Mallacoota.
The flows in these rivers tend to be dominated by rain depressions. Scientific studies have shown that the flows in East Gippsland rivers are amongst the most highly variable in the world: from very low flows for extended periods to enormous flood flows for short periods. Flood flows can rapidly erode river beds and banks, producing sediment that is deposited within river channels and estuaries, or on the floodplain downstream.