High stakes for native fish in Hughes Creek

Tuesday 19 December, 2023
Hughes Creek near Avenel is home to one of just a handful of remaining endangered Macquarie perch fish populations in Victoria, so finding ways to maintain their numbers is a high stakes endeavour.

A simple, cost-effective solution has been implemented in a section of the creek with wooden stakes hammered into the creek bed by volunteers at an event coordinated by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

The CMA’s river health officer, Christine Glassford, said University of Melbourne’s Professor Barbara Downes and Dr Jill Lancaster had pioneered installing hardwood stakes to increase diversity in sandy, bare areas of waterways.

“Leaf litter and other small debris traveling downstream are snagged on the stakes,” Ms Glassford said.

“This organic material builds up into small collections that provide food and shelter for crustaceans, insects, snails and small fish such as juvenile Macquarie perch and Southern Pygmy perch.

“This work complements existing habitat such as large logs and snags in the stream, improving the overall health of the waterway.”

Fish benefit because their food supply is greatly increased in the sections of the stream with stakes.

As part of the Victorian Government’s $248 million investment over four years (2020-2024) to improve catchment and waterway health, Goulburn Broken CMA has been enhancing waterway habitat in Hughes Creek targeting the section of the creek that’s home to the threatened Macquarie perch.

“As one of 11 remaining populations of Macquarie perch in Victoria, improving habitat and connectivity in Hughes Creek is a primary focus, supported by adjoining landholders protecting streamside vegetation from stock grazing and undertaking supplementary planting,” Ms Glassford said.

“At the volunteer event Goulburn Broken CMA, Taungurung Land and Waters Council, Native Fish Australia and Hughes Creek Landcare members gathered at the creek to install the 1.2 metre stakes, under the guidance of the Melbourne University researchers.

“About half the length of the stakes were hammered into the creek bed in pairs, staggered throughout 100-metre sections. It was a great opportunity to share knowledge and collaborate to further improve stream health for Macquarie perch and other native species.”

To find out more about the Goulburn Broken CMA and its programs visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au or phone 03 5822 7700.

Wooden stakes in Hughes Creek are helping maintain the population of endangered Macquarie perch

The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

168 Welsford Street, PO Box 1752, Shepparton VIC 3630
T (03) 5822 7700
F (03) 5831 6254

89 Sydney Road, PO Box 124, Benalla VIC 3672
T (03) 5822 7700

Shop 5/10 High Street, Yea VIC 3717
T (03) 5822 7700

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