Investigation of fish habitat works

Fish surveys have recently been undertaken in the Delatite and Rubicon rivers by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute as part of a study funded by the Victorian Government using Recreational Fishing Licence fees, to assess the benefits of habitat restoration on fish populations.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) project manager Christine Glassford said the project would help inform future habitat restoration programs throughout the Goulburn Broken Catchment.

“The Goulburn Broken CMA has been working on a range of fish habitat improvement projects since 2000,” Ms Glassford said. 

“We know that undertaking habitat improvement works can lead to larger and more resilient fish communities, which will hopefully result in huge benefits for recreational fishers in our region.

“The habitat works we are assessing as part of this project were carried out between 2000 and 2008 and include the installation of lunkers, rock groynes, instream woody habitat (snags) and bed seeding using large rocks.

“It is important to go back and survey these areas so we can find out how fish are responding to the new habitat and improve the way we carry out these projects in the future.”

The results of the surveys so far suggest the habitat improvement works have provided long term benefits to fish populations, particularly for the introduced brown trout and the native Two-spined blackfish, which were found to by utilising these habitats.

Fish assessments around historic habitat restoration sites in the Goulburn and Acheron rivers are planned for autumn 2015. 

A Two-spined blackfish caught and released during one of the surveys of historic habitat enhancement sites in the Delatite and Rubicon rivers