More than 600 native trees and shrubs have been planted and large invasive weeds removed along a 500m stretch of waterway on the Lachlan River to improve fish habitat and fishing through the support of fishing conservation charity OzFish.
The project at Jemalong Weir was done in two stages. Large weeds were first removed by a local contractor with the assistance of OzFish staff in early February. Local volunteers then planted the native trees to revitalise the area.
OzFish Forbes Chapter President Gavin Montgomery said the native trees are a vital food source for fish and provide additional habitat, shade and help improve water quality.
“If nothing was done to the invasive weeds, they would have become uncontrollable,” Gavin said.
“We want to help native fish to thrive in our waterways. OzFish members, and many local anglers, know better fish habitat equals more native fish and a healthier fishery.
“Native trees on our riverbanks are known to provide more than 40 percent of a fish’s diet through insect fall, are a natural buffer that prevents soil and other pollutants from entering the waterway, and naturally support banks to reduce erosion.
“This is good for the environment, good for fishing and good for Forbes,” said Gavin.
The Lachlan River is the fourth-longest river in Australia which provides a wide range of aquatic habitats for many fish species however riparian zones had deteriorated in recent years.
OzFish Project Manager for the Murray-Darling Basin, Braeden Lampard has overseen the project.
“Stage one is complete, but there is more work to do. Getting involved in an OzFish chapter gives locals an opportunity to give something back to their local fish habitat. OzFish connects locals with specialist advice from our fish ecologists and habitat experts and access to funding opportunities to help deliver habitat restoration work in your area like this one,” he said.
“OzFish would like to thank the local Landcare group, indigenous community members and Jemalong Irrigation for their help and support in getting this first project off the ground. We hope it will be the first of many in the area,” said Braeden.
The project was funded by NSW Department of Primary Industries Recreational Fishing Trust’s Habitat Action Grants and OzFish’s major partner; BCF – Boating Camping Fishing.