Waterway

Thoughtless actions threaten native fish species

Friday 14 December, 2012
A protected trout cod population at Gooram Falls near Euroa was threatened after a pollutant, believed to have been detergent, was added to the water. 

A protected trout cod population at Gooram Falls near Euroa was threatened after a pollutant, believed to have been detergent, was added to the water. 

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority Strategic River Health Manager Wayne Tennant said trout cod were once believed to have been fairly wide spread in north-central and north-eastern streams flowing into the Murray River.

"The only known remaining self-sustaining population of trout cod in Victoria is confined to the Seven Creeks system near Euroa," Mr Tennant said.

"We have recently received reports from the community that detergent or a similar pollutant was added to the water in Seven Creeks at Gooram Falls.

"While the actions may have seemed harmless to those involved, the resultant foam could have a serious impact on the threatened trout cod population which exist within Seven Creeks."

Trout cod are listed in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and on the list of threatened species under the Victorian Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act.

Angling for trout cod, which is prohibited in the Seven Creeks area, poor water quality and habitat modification are the major threats to the fish population's status.

Detergent reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, which can stress or even kill fish if levels get too low.

Mr Tennant said the water pollution issue was raised by a number of community members, who were concerned by the potential impact on remaining fish within the waterway.

The incident had been reported to the EPA, and the agency was considering what further action was required.

"Waterwatch has assessed water quality conditions downstream of Gooram Falls, for the Goulburn Broken CMA and thankfully the level of pollution appears to have not affected the dissolved oxygen significantly," Mr Tennant said.

"The EPA, Goulburn Broken CMA and the Landcare community all encourage people to think more about the implications of their actions on local waterways."

For more information about waterways in the Goulburn Broken Catchment visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au.

Photo:  Gooram Falls.