Removing Woody Weeds at Oolong Creek

Working in partnership to improve habitat for Southern Pygmy Perch

Removing Woody Weeds at Oolong Creek

Working in partnership to improve habitat for Southern Pygmy Perch

Collaborations -


The issue

In late 2015, two teenage girls from Dalton discovered the presence of endangered Southern Pygmy Perch in Oolong Creek. Fast forwarding to November 2021, fish scientists and Gunning District Landcare (GDL) were keen to know whether the species was still present after the debilitating 2017-2019 drought in NSW. To everyone's utter delight, the species was found at a number of sites along Oolong Creek. This led to a revision of the Local Action Plan for Southern Pygmy Perch in the Gunning region, by key fish scientists and GDL. One of the key recommendations is to improve the riparian habitat by removing woody weeds which cause excessive shading, and which reduce water quality when they shed their leaves in autumn.

The solution

Upper Lachlan Shire Council was successful in applying for $10,000 of funding for the removal of woody weeds from Oolong Creek. Council approached Gunning District Landcare to organise this work, given the group's keen interest in protecting Southern Pygmy Perch. In turn, GDL approached OzFish Unlimited to undertake the weed removal, building on an existing partnership with the organisation. OzFish Unlimited brought the River Repair Bus to Dalton over three weekends in March, April and May 2023. One OzFish staff member has worked alongside Janet Heffernan from GDL and a team of dedicated local volunteers to clean up a large area adjacent to Garry Cosgrove Bridge. 

The impact

The weed removal effort targeted blackberry and elm suckers and it has made a big impact. Visually the area looks a lot better; less choked up with weeds! After follow-up weeding is completed in spring, we will plant appropriate native vegetation to further improve the riparian habitat. There is still plenty of woody weeds to remove upstream and downstream, but it has been an enormously positive start. There are now sections on Oolong Creek that can be seen for the first time in years, including a wonderful big pool which is no doubt home to Southern Pygmy Perch. 

Key facts

  • Endangered Southern Pygmy Perch were discovered in Oolong Creek by local teenagers in 2015
  • A 2021 survey confirmed that the species survived the 2017-2019 drought
  • A key priority in protecting the species is to enhance the riparian habitat of Oolong Creek
  • Upper Lachlan Shire Council secured $10k for woody weed removal on Oolong Creek
  • Volunteers from the community and GDL have been working with OzFish Unlimited to get the work done

Project Partners