The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority began installing logs and root balls into the Barwon River last week with the support of fishing conservation movement, OzFish Unlimited, to boost fish habitat in the area.
As part of the Australian Governments’ Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program, the restoration work aims to reinstall vital habitats for native fish to help them thrive.
OzFish Project Manager, Dr Sophie Pryor, says that large woody structures such as snags and root balls recycled from bushfires and floods will form critical habitats for targeted recreational fishing species like the estuary perch.
“The Barwon River is home to many important fish species, from estuary perch, tupong, Australian grayling, to southern pygmy perch and common galaxias,” said Dr Pryor.
“By installing these logs and rootballs into the river, we are ensuring there is habitat to support these fishes now and into the future.
“We’re essentially putting in new homes for fish for them to breed, feed and shelter,” said Dr Pryor.
The local Geelong recreational fishing community is also involved in the project and plays an essential role in assisting with restoration work and providing local knowledge on the river system.
Wayne McLaren, Senior Project Officer for the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, leads the project. He says that the Barwon River is the perfect location for this restoration work as the river currently lacks sufficient woody habitat.
“Currently, there is only one tenth of the amount of woody habitat found in the average Victorian River,” said Wayne.
“We’re installing 700 tonnes of logs and snags across 4.5km to help get the Barwon River towards the state average. It’s a big job, but one that we are confident we can deliver alongside OzFish.
The logs and root balls were donated by Bushfire Recovery Victoria and the Macedon Ranges Shire Council following severe weather events, making this project a great example of repurposing or upcycling.
“Logs such as these would have otherwise ended up in garden mulch, but instead are forming complex woody habitat that our native fish need to thrive,” said Wayne.
The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority will also be revegetating 6 ha of Barwon riverbank to reduce erosion, filter nutrients, and provide shade and future instream woody habitat for fish.
If you would like to know more about the project or get involved, join your local OzFish Chapter or contact 1800 431 308.
This project is supported by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Australian Government’s Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program.