Recent monitoring has shown that Murray Hardyheads, a small freshwater fish with the ability to survive in extremely salty water, are thriving in their new home of Little Frenchmans Creek on the Murray River after being translocated from the South Australian Riverland late last year.

In a collaborative effort between numerous committed organisations and individuals, over 830 Murray Hardyhead were moved to Little Frenchman’s Creek in November 2018 to reduce the risk of this critically endangered fish species becoming extinct and to re-establish populations in NSW.

Follow-up monitoring at three wetland sites in late March and May captured more than 1200 Murray Hardyhead, and there are likely to be thousands more throughout the 4km stretch of creek . The presence of different sizes of fish confirms breeding occurred over summer.

Catch of Murray Hardyhead and a delighted Iain Ellis.  Photo: NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

“This is a fantastic result for the Murray Hardyhead, which has now started to re-populate NSW waterways in an amazing comeback that has given us great hope for the fish’s future,” Mr Ellis said.

Researchers recording catch data on site.  Photo: NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

The relocation is a joint project involving the NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries, Western Local Land Services, the Commonwealth Government, the SA Department of Environment and Water, Aquasave – Nature Glenelg Trust, the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, and the owners of the Wingillie Station in western NSW.

Wingillie Station is owned by the Hazel L Henry Farmland Nature Refuges Trust, which has been working with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group and Commonwealth Environment Water Office for several years to improve the condition of the floodplain and wetland habitats across the station.

This successful reintroduction is a great example of how hard work and strong collaboration between local landholders, community groups and governments is ensuring water for the environment keeps our rivers and threatened fish healthy.

The project team wish to dedicate the success of this project to the memory of Rick Webster from the Murray-Darling Wetlands Working Group, whose tireless commitment to river and floodplain restoration was instrumental to this outstanding achievement.

Floodplain specialist fish forum:
Bringing back ‘The Magnificent Six’

A forum was held in Bendigo to bring together experts and waterway practitioners to share the latest information and management approaches being used to address the plight of the Magnificent Six.

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