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Thursday, 13 April 2023

Improving Livingstone Creek habitat builds resilience for endangered Maccas

Work is underway on a project to restore habitat for the endangered Macquarie Perch along Livingstone Creek, Omeo with the installation of timber into the waterway, fencing to exclude stock and revegetation of the riparian area to provide shade and shelter for the species.

The project, funded through the Victorian Government’s Nature Fund program, is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

The Victorian Fishing Authority will undertake fish surveys, brood stock collection from Lake Dartmouth and translocation of fish to Livingstone Creek in a bid to boost numbers.  This waterway sustained extensive damage from six flood events between November 2021 and March 2022.

Macquarie Perch (“Maccas") are an iconic large-bodied native fish within the Murray Darling Basin. Once hailed as one of the most numerous among native fish species, a massive decline in numbers over their entire range since European settlement has reduced them to a small number of fragmented populations scattered across North East Victoria and South Eastern NSW.

As a tributary of the Upper Mitta Mitta River, the Livingstone Creek shares a connection with the largest, self-sustaining population of Maccas in the Murray Darling Basin in Lake Dartmouth.  

North East CMA project officer Owen Davies said: “Creating conditions that are suitable for both spawning and the survival of newly recruited fish, is fundamental to the long-term resilience of the Dartmouth population”.

Mr Davies said the North East CMA would begin rehabilitation works on the lower section of the Livingstone Creek in late 2023 when weather conditions and river levels would allow.

He said the restoration of the stream aimed to improve river health and provide much-needed habitat for Macquarie Perch, Platypus and other aquatic species. This will be achieved by stabilising creek banks, removal of woody weeds, and installing fish habitat including timber structures.

Staff from Arthur Rylah Institute have recently been undertaking fish surveys using electrofishing and Fyke netting while also collecting fin clip samples to determine current population levels and to allow for future genetic population monitoring.

Several Macquarie Perch and Platypus were found during surveys as well as River Blackfish and Trout.  

Pic 3 – Fyke netting was used to survey fish populations in Livingstone Creek.

pic 1 – Staff from Arthur Rylah Institute undertaking fish surveys on Livingstone Creek to determine the health of the Macquarie Perch population.

Pic 2 – One of the fingerlings found in Livingstone Creek during recent surveys.

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