A project to restore fish habitat and increase the fish population in the Mitta River has received $39,381.20 through the 2019-20 round of the Victorian Government’s Recreational Fishing Large Grants Program.
The funding will allow the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) to install large rocks (rock seeding) and timber structures (known as LUNKERS) in the river at Katie Peters Reserve to provide fish habitat and improve opportunities for anglers.
Project manager, Michael Broughton said the funding came from the Recreational Fishing Licence (RFL) Trust Account that allocates annual fishing licence fees towards projects that directly improve recreational fishing in Victoria.
Mr Broughton said the area of the Mitta River was devoid of fish and fish habitat, with little to no instream flow variation. Improving the habitat would increase the fish population including Trout and Blackfish.
“To improve fish habitat we install large rocks and LUNKERS along the toe of a stream bank to create overhead cover and resting areas for the fish,” Mr Broughton said.
“The rock seeding provides an area of lower water velocity and some localised scour, allowing the rish to rest and ambush prey. This also gives anglers an area to target.
“These combined features will be used to improve instream diversity, providing the cover and velocity refuge that macro-invertebrates and fish require to populate an area.”
The Katie Peters Reserve is named for a Department of Sustainability and Environment project firefighter who was tragically killed in the 2013 Harrietville bushfires. Ms Peters had grown up in the region and came from a dairy farm at Tallandoon.
Mr Broughton said the reserve had been treated for woody weeds over several years and has been systematically planted out with native vegetation to create a welcoming camping and picnic area.
He said restoring the fish habitat and increasing fish numbers in the Mitta River at the reserve would create greater amenity for anglers and campers to support the local economy.
Mr Broughton has undertaken planning of this practical waterways project as part of the Waterways Management Twinning Program which has seen him mentored by Patricia Geraghty, Executive Officer, Victorian Catchment Management Council to seek funding for its implementation.
Part of the planning has been seeking input from other organisations with an interest in the site including the Australian Trout Foundation, Greenwell’s Fly Fishing Club, local users of the site and the Arthur Rylah Institute.
“My initial informal conversations with community members found they were all enthusiastic about the concept of restoring the river habitat in the area,” Mr Broughton said.
The North East Catchment Management Authority has support from Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Murray Darling Basin Authority; Crown Land Management; and Goulburn Murray Water for this project.
Issued: 7 September 2020