Local community groups have joined forces to improve fish habitat in the Deniliquin Lagoons.
Volunteers from OzFish, Deniliquin Kolety Lagoons Landcare Group and Edward Wakool Angling Association have been hard at work organising to drop fish hotels in the centre of the lagoons and plant native vegetation to provide more complex habitat for threatened fish.
The work will improve the habitat for threatened southern pygmy perch and eel-tailed catfish, commonly known as freshwater catfish.
OzFish Project Manager for the Murray-Darling Basin, Braeden Lampard said the lagoons are known to be one of the only places in Australia where you can see freshwater catfish nesting with their young.
“These new snags and native vegetation are critical fish habitat, providing places for fish to feed, breed, shelter from the sun and seek refuge from predators, especially in the winter to hide from birds,” Braeden said.
“The local community has been very concerned about the importance of the endangered fish, having seen many get picked up by birds because they don’t have enough shelter for safety.
The water levels in the lagoons are managed to mimic natural flow patterns. When water levels are drawn down fish do not have access to snags which leaves them vulnerable to predators, like birds.
The Deniliquin Lagoons project is a community partnership that has been running since 2010. The lagoons were degraded, erosion was significant and overrun by introduced plants and carp, however the local volunteers have been busy removing pest species, establishing an endangered fish refuge area, a recreational fishing park and replanting native wetland plants into the waterway.
Dr John Conallin, from the Edward Wakool Angling Association said “This is a good example of community groups working together to manage and restore their own habitats for endangered species.”
“The community is more connected to their environment through this project. The support from OzFish has allowed us to continue this important project and we are starting to work with other towns to do what we have done here.”
This project has been made possible thanks to the OzFish-Landcare NSW partnership with funding support from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts, the Tate Endowment Fund, and BCF, and the support of Edward River Council and Forestry Corporation of NSW.