The Chapter provides opportunities for recreational fishers and community members to participate in waterway restoration and fosters environmental stewardship. They firmly believe that community based environmental restoration is a powerful tool that not only repairs damage to ecosystems, it also provides opportunities to build connections between local people and their environment.
Much of the degradation in the region occurred in the 19th century. Land clearing, erosion, sedimentation, desnagging, river flow diversion and extraction, have all lead to habitat degradation, a reduction of biodiversity, and a decline in fish numbers.
Kaurna Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the Onkaparinga region
Over the past 150 years, extensive land clearing has taken place along the Onkaparinga. In some sections of the river, vegetation has been cleared right up to the river’s edge leading to erosion and sedimentation.
The project aims to reduce the impacts of erosion by planting trees and installing both snags and concrete blocks. These structures also provide much needed habitat for native fish and other aquatic species.
Constructing the modular structures is a great way for fishers to participate in the creation of fish habitat. It also facilitates the easy transportation and installation of the structures.
These structures provide cover for juvenile fish and important substrates for filter-feeding marine organisms.
With the funds, the Chapter built and installed low-cost underwater cameras and have taken some impressive underwater footage.
The cameras have provided empirical evidence that the restoration efforts have been successful and provided valuable fish habitat for the area.
This has established a range of colony forming filter-feeders. They are already home to barnacles, coraline tubeworms, mussels and native oysters.
A large number of these organisms have attached themselves to the new habitat and significant volumes of water are now filtered of algae, detritus and sediment.
Crabs, shrimp and prawns now benefit from the new grazing surfaces provided by the shellfish, whilst many fish species benefit from the additional cover and food resources provided by the reefs.
The hydrology of this section of the river now more closely reflects what would be natural flows for the locality.