Trees

Red gums removed during road project re-used for fish habitat

Thursday 27 September, 2018
Trees removed during Stage 1 of the Echuca-Moama Bridge project are being recycled as much-needed habitat for native fish.

Goulburn Broken CMA River Health Officer Corey Wilson said the Major Road Projects Authority (part of VicRoads) had approached the CMA after a number of large red gums were removed during development of the new roundabout at Murray Valley Highway as part of the bridge project. 

“We had recently received funding from the Victorian Government for re-snaggaing works in the Goulburn River,” Mr Wilson said.

“So when the road authority approached us about re-using the logs for an environmental project, the timing was perfect and meant that we ended up doubling the amount of snags we put in the river.”

Last week almost 280 logs were placed in a stretch of the Goulburn River near Murrumbidgee Rd, Wyuna.

“This stretch of the river is a priority for re-snagging as in-stream mapping showed this section of the river had a low density of snags,” Mr Wilson said. “This recent re-snagging project complements similar re-snagging done further downstream a few years back.”

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

Monitoring shows that re-snagging, as well as other activities such as water for the environment, has improved native fish numbers in the Goulburn River; Murray cod are widely distributed with good survival rates from spawning and record numbers of silver perch were recorded last year.

“The snags are great for Murray crayfish too, which is all good news for recreational fishers in our region,” Mr Wilson said.

This recent project brings the total number of snags placed in the Goulburn River below Shepparton to 800.

The project was funded through the Victorian Government’s Recreational Fishing Licence Large Grants Program and the $222 million Water for Victoria initiative.

Re-snagging is just one way the Goulburn Broken CMA works with the community to protect and improve rivers and wetlands. Planning the timing and delivery of water for the environment, fencing to manage stock access to waterways, revegetation, erosion control, pest plant and animal control and installation of fishways to allow fish to pass through dams and weirs also help. Find out more about these activities at www.gbcma.vic.gov.au