Macquarie River Trout Cod lives on thanks to six-year project
ONE of the city’s largest community projects has wrapped up after six years of unending success.
The NSW Environmental Trust granted Dubbo’s Macquarie River Bushcare Group $250,000 for the Protect Repair Connect Project, and that project finishes up in a few day’s time.
Bushcare volunteer Melissa Gray said the project’s aims were to protect, repair and connect priority sites within a 100km reach of habitat of the endangered Trout Cod.
“To achieve this, we ran bi-monthly working bees, involving rubbish removal, riparian planting and weed control,” Ms Gray told Dubbo Photo News.
“We cleared 48 hectares of weeds including willows, castor oil and African boxthorn, and planted over 1600 trees.
“We collected a massive 4.6 tonnes of rubbish from around and in the river,” she said.
The active Bushcare group also organised re-snagging of 20 trees into six woody habitat complexes as well as fencing to exclude stock from 15km of river bank, with cattle in particular known to be erosive forces near streams.
Educational signage was installed along local stretches of the Macquarie promoting such messages as “Why Willows Won’t Do”, “Protecting the Trout Cod – Shy Creatures of the Macquarie River” and “Macquarie Native Fish need Native Plants”.
“Once widespread and abundant in the Macquarie River, dramatic man-made changes to our river have seen dramatic decline in populations of Trout Cod over the last century,” Ms Gray said.
“Trout Cod are similar to Murray Cod but you can distinguish a Trout Cod by a black eye stripe on the side of the head, a blue-grey colouration with a grey belly, and an overbite – the upper jaw being longer than the bottom,” she explained.
Members of Dubbo Macquarie Bushcare group have enjoyed a social cuppa after each working bee, and are given many opportunities to learn about the health of Native Fish and Inland Rivers, according to Ms Gray – and they’re always on the lookout for new volunteers to help revitalise the river.
For further information about Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare, including how to volunteer, email dubbobush[email protected]hoo. com.au
If you happen to catch a Trout Cod, please release it safely and report the sighting to DPI Fisheries staff www.dpi.nsw.gov. au/fishing/species-protection/ report-it
Volunteers with the Macquarie River Bushcare Group have been part of the six-year effort to help save the endangered Trout Cod. Inset: This rare and endangered Trout Cod was photographed on the Macquarie River in 2011 before being returned to the water.