The Tea Garden Weir Fishway Construction Project is very close to being completed. Up until last Friday, 17 March, only five lines of ridge rocks and some rock banking works remained incomplete. Stay tuned.
Figure 1. Looking downstream from top of fishway - rock has replaced the old weir to provide the hydraulic head for water to be diverted along Tea Garden Creek for irrigators.
Figure 2. View across fishway, showing the lines of ridge rocks across the rock ramp.
Figure 3. View looking upstream showing the near-complete rock ramp fishway - no longer a barrier for the upstream movement of our native fish.
Rock ramp fishway at Tea Garden Weir
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.
This project will construct a full width rock-ramp fishway at Tea Garden Creek weir on the Ovens River, opening an additional 270km of habitat and refuge in a river that supports one of the most significant populations of native fish within the Murray Darling Basin. The construction of a fishway at this weir will enable fish to access important riverine and refuge habitat upstream of Tea Garden Creek, along the Ovens River and its major tributaries.
The fishway will also maintain the diversion of water for irrigation to pass from the Ovens River to primary producers along the Tea Garden Creek.
The construction project involves the removal of the existing weir and the construction of a full width (22m) rock-ramp fishway downstream of the weir (39m in length).
Rock ramp fishways are commonly used for barriers less than two metres in height and are typically constructed of angular quarry rock. The fishway slope and gap between rocks influence the stream flow conditions through the fishway. The resulting water turbulence and velocity allows native fish to swim upstream past the barrier. Rock ramps also have quiet pools which allow other aquatic fauna, like turtles and invertebrates to move safely along the stream.
Full width rock ramp fishway on the Ovens River, Sydney Weir, Wangaratta
The Tea Garden Creek Weir at Everton.
NECMA acknowledges the support and contributions for this important project from the following stakeholders:
- Tea Garden Weir Irrigation Users Group