Wheat

More snags to be placed in Broken Creek

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) will start re-snagging in a section of the Broken Creek upstream of Nathalia in coming weeks.

Since 2011 almost 730 snags have been placed along more than 18 kilometers of the Broken Creek between the Nine Mile Creek (downstream of Numurkah) and Prentices Road near Nathalia.

Goulburn Broken CMA Riparian and River Channel Manager Jim Castles said the project, funded by the Victorian Government using Recreational Fishing Licence fees, would improve recreational fishing in the creek by providing habitat for native fish such as Murray cod and golden perch (yellow belly).

“The Broken Creek was historically de-snagged and dredged and was almost void of instream habitat, or snags, in the area we have targeted as part of this project,” Mr Castles said.  “In-stream habitat mapping was carried out along the creek between Numurkah and Nathalia by scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute, and this mapping helped us to identify areas that had a low density of snags. It also helped us to select areas where re-snagging would have the greatest benefit for native fish populations and anglers.”

Snags are sometimes referred to as inland equivalent of coastal reefs and provide habitat for native fish and other animals such as tortoises and native water rats. Native fish use them to shelter from fast currents and sunlight as well as for refuge from predators. Native fish also use snags as feeding and spawning sites, and as nursery areas for juvenile fish. 

Mr Castles said the snags for the project were sourced from a number of locations across the catchment.

“Some of the river red gum, grey box and yellow box stumps and large branches were sourced from trees that had fallen in local government-managed parks, reserves and road sides due to storms and flooding. Others were sourced following the Boweya and Wunghnu fires that occurred in 2014, and from trees removed by nearby landholders under permit.”

The snags will have very little or no effect on water flow.

“The snags will enhance native fish habitat, leading to a more robust native fish community, which will result in huge benefits for recreational fishers in our region,” Mr Castles said.

Native fish surveys carried out in 2015 showed promising results, with an increase in Murray cod around the re-snagged area and a large increase in shrimp, an important food source for large bodied native fish. Native fish surveys will be repeated in 2017 and 2019 to monitor the effectiveness of this program. 

For more information about the project phone Jim Castles on 5820 1100 or email jimc@gbcma.vic.gov.au