Re-snag­ging to re­store habi­tat

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - Goul­burn Bro­ken Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity ri­par­ian and river chan­nel man­ager Jim Cas­tles at the site of a snag­ging.

Goul­burn-Bro­ken Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity has been busy re-snag­ging the Goul­burn River this sum­mer by plac­ing tree branches and trunks in the wa­ter to pro­vide its in­hab­i­tants with a healthy home.

Re-snag­ging the Goul­burn River be­gan in 2011 and was car­ried out in the sum­mer months.

About 600 snags have been in­stalled above Nagam­bie in­clud­ing 250 snags in Ta­bilk La­goon and 700 in the Lower Goul­burn River be­tween Toolamba and the McCoys Bridge area.

GBCMA ri­par­ian and river chan­nel man­ager Jim Cas­tles said snags were be­ing re­moved from the river up un­til the 1970s be­cause peo­ple be­lieved ex­tract­ing them would im­prove river flows and make it eas­ier for boats to ma­noeu­vre.

‘‘It did a lot of dam­age to the ecol­ogy of the river and had an im­pact on na­tive fish num­bers, and it’s pretty well known now that the snags don’t re­ally have all that much im­pact on flows,’’ he said.

Mr Cas­tles said when the CMA re-snagged the river they used grey box and yel­low box trees and sourced them from roadworks and ar­eas where trees had fallen down be­cause of storms.

‘‘In-stream habi­tat map­ping has been car­ried out in the Goul­burn River by sci­en­tists from the Arthur Ry­lah In­sti­tute and this map­ping has helped us to iden­tify ar­eas that had a low den­sity of snags,’’ Mr Cas­tles said.

‘‘The map­ping also helped us to se­lect ar­eas where resnag­ging would have the great­est ben­e­fit for na­tive fish pop­u­la­tions and an­glers.’’

Mr Cas­tles said it was un­likely they would ever get snags back in the river at the den­sity they once were, but they were do­ing a lot of work with na­ture along the side of the river so trees could naturally fall in and pro­vide wa­ter crea­tures with that in­land co­ral-like at­mos­phere they needed.

‘‘Na­tive fish mon­i­tor­ing is be­ing car­ried out an­nu­ally and will help as­sess the im­pact of the resnag­ging pro­gram on na­tive fish pop­u­la­tions within the Goul­burn River,’’ he said.

— Sion­nie Kelly

Su­per­vis­ing:

Restor­ing ecol­ogy: A ma­chine is used to drop a snag into the Goul­burn. Pictures: Sion­nie Kelly

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