Fish hotels to improve lake ecology

"Fish hotels" have been placed in Belvoir Lake as part of an ongoing program to protect native species and improve the health of the waterway.

The hotels - cube-shaped timber structures made by Wodonga Council crews - will provide homes for small native fish such as smelt and gudgeon that are risk of being eaten by larger exotic species like carp, redfin and trout.

The structures will contain vegetation and will provide the small fish with food sources.

As part of World Wetlands Month, today's works will include the placement of large logs in the water to provide basking sites for turtles, while also creating habitat for aquatic creatures.

Wodonga Council's Manager Outdoor Operations Richard Lamb said the project was the fruit of partnerships with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), with La Trobe University.

"This is a fantastic partnership that's delivered an important ecological enhancement grant to make a real difference to the environmental health of our wetlands," he said.

"It may be easy to overlook the small native fish that call our wetlands home but they are a crucial part of the wetlands ecology and it's important to do all we can to protect them from larger introduced species.

"Placing logs in the water will also support turtles which are under long-term threat, largely because of a high rate of predation of eggs by foxes."

The habitat restoration has been funded by the State Government through DEECA, under the Integrated Water Management Grant program.

As part of the efforts to help turtles, the council will work with La Trobe University turtle expert, Associate Professor James Van Dyke, to investigate the potential to install interactive signage to encourage people to learn about animals in the area and to become citizen scientists to help improve turtle survival.

"Protecting wildlife is a community-wide effort and we're proud to have worked with expert agencies to not only improve habitat in our lake but also to enhance the area's appeal to the many people who enjoy the beauty and tranquility of beautiful wetlands right here on our doorstep," Mr Lamb said.

Under the Council's Willow and Belvoir Parks Master Plan, works to improve the ecology and habitat are continuing, including tree planting and revegetation.

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