Sadly, millions of snags have been deliberately removed through large-scale desnagging operations across the country since European settlement. But there is hope, OzFish are on a mission to put every one of them back in so our native fish can thrive.

Check out some of the resnagging and fish hotel projects OzFish volunteers have been involved in. If you would like to help make a difference, get in contact with our team today.

River Resnagging and Fish Hotels Projects

Bundaleer Reservoir, SA 2023

Bundaleer Reservoir, SA 2023

Building on the success of 2021’s activity, volunteers from our Barossa Chapter spearheaded the installation of further habitat structures. At six locations across the reservoir, with support from SA Water’s local team, they deployed fish homes made of large eucalyptus logs, brush piles and ...

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Murray River , NSW 2023

Murray River , NSW 2023

OzFish unlimited will be working to improve a 2km stretch of the Murray River upstream from Euston by installing 20 large logs and rocky structures to enhance fish habitat. The restoration activities are designed to help restore the Murray River habitat and create better fishing in one of ...

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Hunter River , NSW 2023

Hunter River , NSW 2023

OzFish Unlimited, and partners propose to restore two degraded stretches of the Hunter River through riparian restoration and re-establishment of large woody fish habitat. The project will involve multiple community planting and education events, fish hotel building workshops, and citizen ...

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Darling River Resnagging, 2023 NSW

Darling River Resnagging, 2023 NSW

The project installed 20 large habitats and rock reefs along a 1km stretch of river upstream of Wentworth township. The reinstatement of the structures provided valuable fish habitat, breeding grounds, and additional food sources for aquatic species in the region.

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Lake Eppalock,  VIC 2023

Lake Eppalock, VIC 2023

OzFish Unlimited, Goulburn Murray Water (GMW), North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA), and local anglers are embarking on a vital project to enhance the lake's habitat. These efforts will ensure the sustainable growth of native fish, mainly the Murray Cod.

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Regional Youth Investment Program

Regional Youth Investment Program

This project will see young people restoring river health and habitat for wildlife by planting trees along waterways, making fish hotels for threatened fish species, restoring wetlands, collecting rubbish and designing and implementing a litter prevention project for their local river.

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Murray Sunset National Park Restoration, 2023

Murray Sunset National Park Restoration, 2023

OzFish Unlimited, First Nations, and recreational anglers will be working together to restore critical habitats in the Sunraysia region thanks to a funding boost through the Australian Government’s Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program.

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Bethungra Dam, NSW 2023

Bethungra Dam, NSW 2023

OzFish is returning woody habitat to Bethungra Dam as part of a wider program to boost native fish populations in the waterway. Snags will provide fish with shade, shelter, and places to breed and feed. The project is part of OzFish’s Driving Fish Habitat Action partnership with Landcare ...

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Floating Bird Roost, 2023 QLD

Floating Bird Roost, 2023 QLD

OzFish Central Moreton Bay Chapter worked with Healthy Land and Water and Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, to install, monitor and remove three floating bird roosts. This trial was to support migratory shore birds and native fish species.   

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Murray hardyhead

Murray hardyhead

OzFish has received funding to deliver restoration activities that will create critically needed complex habitat to support Murray hardyhead populations. Bringing communities together across the region to help with those efforts is key to the project’s success.

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Onkaparinga River, SA

Onkaparinga River, SA

OzFish has taken an innovative approach to restoring submerged habitat in the Onkaparinga River - enhancing the habitat for native fish and other wildlife. Constructed from recycled oak tree stakes and filled with bundles of eucalyptus sticks, the frustas were placed at strategic points along ...

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Lansdowne River, Coopernook, NSW

Lansdowne River, Coopernook, NSW

OzFish Manning River Chapter is working with local Landcare groups, Mid Coast Council and Hunter Local Land Services to stabilise 750 metres of the Lansdowne Riverbank and revive 3 hectares of mangrove and saltmarsh habitat along Tappin Creek.

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River resnagging and fish hotel projects at OzFish involves:

  • Constructing and installing fish hotels 
  • Decontaminating and installing terracotta pots and limestone blocks 
  • Installing rock reefs 
  • Repurposing tree trunks 
  • Habitat mapping 
  • Monitoring and evaluation activities 
  • Running engagement and education events 
  • Conducting fish surveys 
  • Riverbank stabilisation 
  • Woody material collection 

MURRAY-RIVER-RESNAGGING

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What exactly are snags?

    Snags are wood debris, including trees and branches, that are found in rivers and creeks. The debris falls into the river as a natural part of the tree’s life cycle or from environmental impacts such as winds and flooding. Snags are most effective when they are of different shapes and sizes as they then meet habitat requirements for different species. 

    Instream woody habitats contribute to catchment health, biodiversity and support self-sustaining fish populations. 

  • Why are snags so important to Aussie fish? 

    Snags are important for birds, amphibians and native fish that use them as a place to live. Benefits for fish include shelter and protection, a place to breed, a place to rest, ambush sites and feeding grounds for fish who eat algae and macro-invertebrates. These structures also positively impact the river system by creating variability in-depth and flow.  

    Less habitat means less fish and fewer fishing opportunities.  

  • What's happened to snags?

    In the past, snags were removed from rivers as it was thought that they had a negative impact on the waterway, resulting in the decline of native fish, with the native fish population now at an all-time low. Some of the misconceptions were that snags reduced the capacity of rivers during flooding, increased erosion, hindered watercraft navigation, and reduced the efficiency of water delivery. These theories were later proven incorrect and now it is important to reverse the loss of this vital habitat by restoring the woody structures. Another problem impacting snags is that native riparian vegetation has been removed from riverbanks. This means that there are fewer natural sources of wood debris to replenish fish habitat. 

  • How do we restore them?

    Most people would think ‘too easy, let’s just throw some branches into the river’, unfortunately, it is not that straightforward. Resnagging requires science and engineering to ensure that the snags are placed in a way that has maximum ecological benefit. It is also important to consider the type, size and shape of the snags that are used. Placing these heavy structures is no mean feat, often requiring cables and heavy machinery to get them in the right position. 

    Resnagging and Fish Hotels benefit fishos as they encourage fish to stay in the area, helping them to grow and thrive. 

  • What are fish hotels?

    Fish hotels is another initiative that is helping the resnagging efforts. They are structures made from a cement base and piled with wooden sleepers. Several of them put together creates an artificial reef and attracts an array of fish. Again, they provide feeding grounds and protection for smaller fish. They are called fish hotels as the fish only stay for short periods of time before growing stronger and moving downstream.  

Resnagging and Fish Hotels

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At OzFish we are incredibly proud of the river resnagging efforts undertaken by so many of our OzFish volunteers, our fish need more help to recover now more than ever. And you can help.

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