Numeralla River Fish Habitat Restoration Project

The Project, Habitat restoration in the Numeralla River through the re-introduction of large woody debris, is proudly funded by the Recreational Fishing Trust's Habitat Action Grant.

The simplification and degradation of habitat within river environment is considered the major cause of declining fish stocks throughout our inland waterways (Native Fish Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin 2003-2013). Within the Numeralla River, surrounding land use has lead to a significant reduction of habitat and associated decline in fish abundance. Records show that fish numbers have been declining since the 1970’s, with two threatened species, the Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) and Trout cod (Maccullochella macquariensis), last recorded during that period. The remaining native species Golden perch (Macquaria ambigua ambigua) and Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii) are now found in low numbers, despite recent restocking attempts.

While fish species endemic to the Numeralla River display a range of habitat preferences, a universal habitat variable is the presence of woody debris. Woody debris, or snags, influence stream flow, provide substrate for invertebrate populations and shelter for fish. Additionally, connectivity between snags is considered critical, ensuring dispersal and other behavioural activities are supported. To promote a suitably complex habitat mosaic within the Numeralla River, the Numeralla Fishing Club, Numeralla and District Landcare Groups and Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) have undertaken rehabilitation projects along the riparian zone and in-stream. The outcome of work to date have been promising and supported the continual rehabilitation of the Numeralla River. The shared interest and collaborative effort of community and government organisations towards rehabilitating fish habitat in the Numeralla River has led to the current project, which will compliment earlier river rehabilitation works and expand the habitat successfully introduced in these previous projects.

Through this project two large woody debris will be positioned along the Numeralla River to create habitat and connectivity of habitat along the river. Additional riparian weed control and revegetation will expand the projects environmental benefits through bank rehabilitation and promote terrestrial biodiversity habitat.