Over the course of several events in late 2022 and early 2023, significant work has been undertaken to restore fish habitat on the Colombo Creek – including planting, tree-guarding and electro-fishing carp. Find out more below.
On the weekend of 3 September 2022, fifteen volunteers rolled up their sleeves to plant and guard 900 native tubestock on the Colombo Creek at ‘Coonong Station’. The site was fenced earlier in the year with 19 kms of direct seeding completed in July.
It was a perfect spring day to restore a creek meander. It was great to see people of all ages lending a hand, with the youngest just two years old! Morning tea, followed by a sausage sizzle went down a treat to feed the hungry helpers – thanks to Tom Holt and Gary for cooking. The project is funded by NSW DPI Recreational Trust Habitat Action Grant and YACTAC. Thank you to everyone that helped and made the day a good one!
14 September saw the work continue, with Deniliquin High School helping YACTAC with wetland planting. Two species of rush were used, each with a particular niche, for water bird and fish habitat. The students have been trained in wetland planting and didn’t mind getting a little cold as they were equipped with waders and other necessary tools.
They also erected kangaroo-proof tree guards for the earlier plantings (3 September event). It was also a perfect day for a BBQ under the shade of gum trees. Thanks to the students, teachers Allana Moorse and Tim, Dan Hutton from Edward Wakool Angling Association, and Roseanne Farrant from Deniliquin Kolety Lagoons Landcare.
With permits procured, Bell Carp spent three days electro-fishing carp from one 10km stretch of the Colombo Creek. Electro-fishing was repeated on the same section of creek over three days. On day one, approximately 140kg carp were caught; day two 600kg; and on the last day 160kg. Other aquatic species noted over the three days include: 1 Golden Perch, a dozen Eel-tailed Catfish, Carp Gudgeon, Bony Bream, and shrimp. Non-native species included: Redfin, Goldfish and Gambusia.
A presentation to Colombo Creek Ski Club and campers (14 attendees) took place after catching carp on the first day with much genuine interest. Generally, the area would be considered isolated and out-of-the-way for events, but summer holidays proved a good time to engage creek stakeholders. Bell Carp also demonstrated carp catching on day two, with six people participating.
Across two properties, the project achieved the following:
• 3.3km of waterway protected
• 27ha land fenced
• 21km direct seeding with 4.5kg native seed sown
• 3500+ tubestock and wetland species planted
You know you've hit on something big when farmers stop what they are doing, in one of the busiest months of the year, to keenly participate in a workshop. Interest in the African Boxthorn biocontrol pilot program demonstrated just how much of a problem Boxthorn is.
Central Billabong landholders celebrate the incredible success of willlow removal projects over the past 15 years, which have turned clogged creeks into broad, navigable waterways, flanked by redgums and revegetation plantings, and home to native fish and birds.