Palm Creek fish surveys show positive results.
Fish surveys along Palm Creek are showing great results after a zig-zagging fish passageway was built at Victoria Mill Weir in Ingham over a year ago.
There is absolutely no doubt that fish are moving between the upper and lower parts of the weir, something they haven’t had the opportunity to do at this scale since the weir was constructed.
The Hinchinbrook Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) has been working on the surveys alongside OzFish. Committee member Adam Royle says the first two Palm Creek fish surveys have returned great results.
“We’ve seen a good number of species, including freshwater prawns, eels, spangled perch and a number of other native fish. There is absolutely no doubt that fish are moving between the upper and lower parts of the weir, something they haven’t had the opportunity to do at this scale since the weir was constructed.’’
The zig-zagging fish passageway is a series of 26 ramps and ponds or pools that fish can work their way up to get past the weir.
“That’s important to a lot of species, including mangrove jack and barramundi, because they spawn in the marine environment, the juveniles move up the river systems to find freshwater nurseries, and then when they’re of age, they need to return to the marine environment to start the cycle all over again. Fish passage barriers are a real threat to fish numbers and diversity,” said Adam.
These surveys are also useful for identifying where improvements can be made to the design of a passageway.
The group has also picked up funding from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to conduct fish surveys at Tyto Wetlands and in the Herbert River. They will be partnering with OzFish on the project which will include design work for a rock ramp fishway near Tyto Wetlands.
“We identified an issue where overflow from the Herbert River and localised rain fills up a waterway adjacent to the Tyto wetlands. Fish move up through the flooded waterway but hit a barrier before entering the wetlands and can’t go any further. Without safe passage into the wetlands they are eaten by birds or die when it dries out. We’ll be working with OzFish to scope this out and hopefully it’ll lead to more funding for a passageway.”
He also said that fish stocking groups did a great job in the region.
“The stocking work is really helpful but we need to think beyond simply stocking more fish – if there is no passage for the fish to get good habitat they won’t survive.”