Construction has begun on a rock ramp fishway on the Ovens River, at the Tea Garden Weir, near Everton.
The project, funded by the Victorian Government and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), is a partnership between Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) and the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA).
GMW and North East CMA had previously signed a service agreement to deliver the project in partnership, with North East CMA managing planning, design and approvals, and GMW, the procurement and completion of the on ground works. GMW will own and manage the new fishway.
Construction of the fishway is an entirely local undertaking, involving rock sourced from a nearby quarry and local contractors. It will open up an additional 270km of habitat and refuge (from the Murray River up to Porepunkah Weir) in a river that supports one of the most significant populations of native fish within the Murray Darling Basin.
GMW Managing Director Charmaine Quick and North East CMA Chief Executive Officer Katie Warner welcomed the start of construction at the Tea Garden site.
“We are pleased to be partnering with North East CMA to complete this crucial project and help ensure the region’s prosperity,” Ms Quick said.
Ms Warner said removing barriers to fish movement is a priority outlined in the Native Fish Recovery Strategy (June 2020) which mentions threatened and endangered species in the Ovens River, including Macquarie Perch, Trout Cod, Murray Cod, Silver Perch and Flat-headed Galaxias.
“This will allow fish to move unencumbered through the system, increasing spawning opportunities and improving the genetic diversity, resilience to climate change and bushfire effects in addition to improved recreational fishing opportunities,” she said.
Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, Dr Simon Banks, said the proceeds of selling annual water allocations are used to fund activities like the Tea Garden Weir fishway, that maximise environmental outcomes.
“We are excited to be a funding partner on this important project which will help improve the population and resilience of threatened fish species and support ongoing native fish restoration efforts in the Ovens River.”
Construction of the fishway is scheduled to be completed by May 2023.
Figure 1 - Almost 4,500 tons of rock has been used so far in construction of the Tea Garden Weir fishway. This is the remaining rock that will be utilised.
Figure 5 - Sheet piling at the toe end of the fishway. The piles are initially driven with vibrating plate to get them seated properly. Piling needs to be driven to 1.3 m below current water level, using the piling hammer.
Figure 7 – The Ovens River charges over the remnants of the Tea Garden Weir. Continuing high stream flows means the final placement of ridge rocks may need to be postponed until stream flows fall.