Ozfish volunteers and local community members have taken the first steps to make Lake Wyangan a stronger native freshwater fishery thanks to a serious habitat upgrade.
A thriving and resilient aquatic ecosystem requires the nurturing of suitable habitats that will support the native fish populations. Without somewhere to hide, feel safe and breed and feed, fish numbers cannot be optimized.
OzFish has trail-blazed this rehabilitation with the installation of ten large woody habitats and rock reefs along a 500m stretch of riverbank in Lake Wyangan.
These structures will provide valuable habitat, breeding grounds, and support additional food sources for many aquatic species such as the Murray cod, bony bream, golden perch and silver perch.
With the habitat installed, an army of local rec fishers kick-started the Lakes fish recovery by raising more than $10,000 for the project, which will also see over 900 fully grown fish released into the Griffith waterway.
Braeden Lampard, OzFish Senior Program Manager for the Murray Darling Basin, said that fish such as Murray cod will use these new habitats to ambush their prey, and station themselves out of the sun when it is beaming down on the water.
“Lake Wyangan has always been a successful fishery but after a devastating fish kill in May 2020, the local fish populations were placed under significant pressure”, said Braedon.
“Thousands of fish in this waterway disappeared”.
In looking to restore their local fishery, the OzFish MIA Chapter and local businesses undertook an ambitious plan to raise money for habitat restoration, with Griffith City Council pledging to match all funds bringing the total to over $20,000.
Tom Armstrong, who assisted in the funding of the project via his business Armstrong Plant Hire, is excited at the prospect of the community working together toward the health of this much-beloved local waterway.
“It’s great to be part of such a community-driven project that will give so much back to the local environment, fishery and economy. The community will have an opportunity to volunteer and actively be part of improving their local environment and increase cultural fishing opportunities,” said Mr Armstrong.
The fish will be introduced to the lake on the 26th of November, and the community is invited to see the fish enter the water at the Lake Wyangan Recreational Park between 9am and 4pm.
OzFish is calling on the local rec fish community to head on down throughout the day and participate in what is a fantastic achievement for the local fishery.
To find out more about how you can become an OzFish member and get involved in the project, head to www.ozfish.org.au or call 1800 431 308.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 11 November 2021.