Hughes Creek works support Macquarie perch

In-stream structures placed in Hughes Creek earlier this year appear to be helping create deep pools needed for threatened Macquarie Perch to shelter in.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) River Health Officer Christine Glassford said 50
structures were placed at three trial sites along the creek in May.

“We placed large rocks and logs in a number of configurations along 2km of the creek, below where we know
there are already Macquarie perch,” Ms Glassford said.

“The aim is to improve the quality of habitat and extend the range of Macquarie perch downstream from their
current stronghold.”

The population of Macquarie Perch in Hughes Creek is one of the few remaining in Victoria.

“Sand is the main threat to the confined population, having eroded from the catchment following early
settlement activities and accumulated in the creek. The sand is shifted within the river channel in high flows,
filling in the deep pools Macquarie perch shelter in and the riffles they need for spawning, where fast, shallow
waters passes over gravels and larger rocks.

“Establishing in-stream and bank vegetation is another important component to these habitat improvement
works. We have plans to trial planting staggered blocks of reeds and rushes to stabilise the sand bars. These
plants do a fantastic job of holding the sand in place and reducing the amount transported to degrade
downstream habitat.”

Monitoring undertaken before and after the works will help measure their effectiveness and shape future
activities. Surveys of water bugs, fish and the physical features of the stream, such as depth of pools, location
and connectivity, are being conducted to capture changes.

“So far, observational assessments confirm deeper water has been achieved near the constructed habitats,” Ms
Glassford said. “A high flow event, when the most significant amounts of sand are generally transported, will be
required to really test how effectively this depth can be maintained into the future.”

“Our aim is to improve habitat for Macquarie perch all along Hughes Creek, a tributary of the Goulburn River,
and ultimately reconnect the population to the Goulburn River to enhance the population’s resilience,
particularly in drought.”

These habitat trials are explained in more detail in a recently produced clip Protecting Macquarie Perch in Hughes Creek that can be viewed on the Goulburn Broken CMA’s YouTube channel.

The GB CMA offers funding support to landholders along the Hughes Creek and its tributaries to undertake complementary riparian improvement works, such as stock fencing, off-stream watering and revegetation.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project, should contact Christine Glassford on 5797 4400.

Hughes Creek