A habitat restoration project at Cowra has recycled roadwork debris into new fish habit while creating flow on benefits downstream for the town’s key pump site.  Sedimentation has been causing serious problems for native fish and for Cowra Shire Council’s “wet well” water supply intake on the Lachlan River.

“A sediment slug is moving down the river filling natural holes that are habitat for fish, and that’s also making extraction of town water supplies difficult, particularly during times of low flow,” said Dirk Wymer, Infrastructure & Operations Director with Cowra Council.

Cowra Council has had to regularly remove sediment from the town water supply off take.  Photo credit: Casey Proctor

The Council has worked together with Central Tablelands Local Land Services, local Fishing Clubs and DPI Fisheries to come up with a solution that will enhance both fish habitat and water quality.

“With funding and support from project partners and the NSW Government’s Recreational Fishing Trust, we’ve used recycled trees and boulders to restore habitat and recreate a natural diversity instream velocity,” explained Local Land Services project leader, Casey Proctor.

The trees and granite boulders removed during recent road widening works have been turned into a snag complex just upstream from the Cowra town water supply “wet well” intake.

Trees removed during road works turned into habitat snags ready to load into the river.  Photo credit: Casey Proctor

Native fish species, including Murray cod which lay their eggs on large woody structures to breed, will benefit substantially from this model example of road work recycling.  The strategically placed snags and a rock groyne in the river bed create velocity and turbulence, to restore the deep water holes that were once common in the river.

Dirk Wymer and David Tarbert from Cowra Shire Council were on hand for when the snags were placed in the river.  Photo credit: Casey Proctor

Building on local engagement in the project, the Bila Galari indigenous land management team has been contracted to carry out cultural site surveys, weed control and riparian replanting on the banks of the site to enhance the natural environment.

For more information about the ‘Comfortable Cod for Cowra’ project, contact Casey Proctor on 0429 110 072.

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What snag is that?

Getting to the root of it: do snags create fish?

Habitat restoration increases fish populations in the Murray