North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has welcomed a $398,888 grant from the Australian Government’s Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program to support a project to protect threatened fish species through works undertaken in the Kiewa River.
Chief executive officer, Katie Warner, said the project would deliver direct instream and riparian habitat improvements including resnagging along 15km of the river, focused on three threatened fish species – the Trout Cod, Macquarie Perch and Murray Cod.
Ms Warner said a major component of the program would be community involvement, with significant input to the project by the Kiewa and Wodonga Urban Landcare Groups, local fishing clubs, First Nations groups and adjoining property owners.
“Improved health and ecological condition for the Kiewa River will be delivered through the installation of instream woody habitat or re-snagging,” she said.
“The work includes the provision of spawning or breeding sites through the creation of permanent pools, as well as fencing off the river to control invasive weeds and protect the riparian zone.
“This project is critical to the health of these threatened fish species due to the excessive accumulation of sand resulting from historic gold mining practices in the Yackandandah Creek catchment.”
Ms Warner said the project would have strong synergies with complementary work now underway by the Victorian Fisheries Authority and Victoria’s Rylah Institute through their direct actions and monitoring programs for native fish in the region.
She said the Kiewa River had been identified as a key waterway for the immediate roll out of the Macquarie Perch re-introduction programs.
“This project will be pivotal in ensuring that the best available habitat is in place once this vision is realised,” she said.
Ms Warner said the North East CMA had extensive experience with tailoring instream habit interventions to provide lasting ecological returns for native fish, with previous programs delivered in the Ovens and Mitta Rivers.
“North East CMA has a parallel “Our Catchments, Our Communities” project running in the catchment that provides a significant resource to help reach out to the broader Kiewa community.
Ms Warner said the project would deliver economic and employment benefits for the region via the use of local suppliers for all materials, contract machinery and labour.
The Kiewa River grant comes after North East CMA received $588,880 from the Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program in February for a similar program to enhance native fish habitat in the Lower Ovens River and protect the Lower Ovens wetland complex.