Storm debris creates new reel estate for fish

Rootballs in pond fish habitat.jpg

A collaborative effort by Yarra Ranges Council, Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Victorian Fisheries will see close to 40 enormous snags in the form of tree stumps and root balls replenished into Rivers around the Goulbourn and Glenelg area, and at a Shepparton native fish hatchery.

The root balls, or snags as they’re commonly called by fishers, will provide extra habitat for native fish, including the Murray Cod and Golden Perch.

Since the June storms, Council has collected more than 31,000 tonnes of wood, stump and branch debris.

Of the collected material, 17,700m3 of mulch has been re-distributed to the community.

Some of that debris has remained at processing sites due to its unsuitability for milling and Council has worked with other agencies to identify how they can be used most effectively.

This collaborative approach led to an agreement between YRC, BRC and Victorian Fisheries whereby root balls that would otherwise require additional costly processing to turn into mulch, could instead be effectively utilised for native fish habitat.

Some of these repurposed snags will also be used at the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s new native fish hatchery near Shepparton, where thirty-two ponds will be built to grow newly hatched native fish that will eventually be released into waters across Victoria.

Once in the environment these root balls will increase breeding environments, add natural food sources and create a sustainable native fish community, resulting in benefits not only to the local environment and waterways but to recreational fishers.

Yarra Ranges Council Mayor, Jim Child said that Yarra Ranges Council is excited to be working with BRV and Victoria Fisheries on this project.

“While the loss of trees during the storm is sad, reusing root balls and stumps which were too big to mill and produced poor quality mulch is good for conservation, good for healthy waterways and good for recreational fishing.”

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