Landholders along Emigrant Creek restoring habitat and creating fish-friendly farms

Riparian rehabilitation works have been completed on 5.5ha across 7 properties to increase the health and productivity of habitats that support fish stocks along Emigrant Creek. Landholders in partnership with OzFish Unlimited and North Coast Local Land Services have undertaken works to:

  • Reinstate native riparian vegetation
  • Protect riverbanks against further erosion and increase bank stability
  • Exclude cattle from waterways
  • Provide instream habitat for a range of different fish species

Emigrant Creek is a main tributary of the Richmond River’s lower estuary and is a popular destination for both freshwater and estuarine species. Due to being in an area where the salt water reaches it’s limit, the area is important to both estuarine species and to migrating bass.

Genevieve Maley, Land Services Officer at North Coast Local Land Services said revegetating the riparian areas will ensure that the bank is protected from erosion and runoff will be filtered, improving the water quality for both fish and the wider community.

“Once the trees have reached canopy height they will provide shade from overhanging vegetation, provide a food source via terrestrial invertebrate fall and later on create instream woody snags, said Genevieve.”

In addition to the riparian rehabilitation works Reef balls have been installed to provide immediate instream habitat.

Reef balls are made from a specially formulated concrete that is environmentally friendly and resemble a hollow dome with holes and notches. The hollow interior serves as a shelter and nursery for juvenile fish and provides hiding places, feeding grounds, and breeding sites for a variety of fish species, promoting biodiversity and supporting local fisheries

Ryan Lungu, a Program Manger at OzFish Unlimited said it was exciting for the Richmond River OzFish chapter to be involved in providing much needed additional habitat for native fish in Emigrant Creek.

Outcomes of this project include:

  • Providing habitat and shelter for fish
  • Improving water quality through riparian buffer plantings
  • Increasing bank stability and lowering the risk of erosion by excluding cattle from creekbanks
  • Providing a riparian corridor for species biodiversity surrounded by farmland

This project is part of the Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program in which North Coast Local Land Services will deliver five projects to restore the health and functionality of fisheries habitats across the region.

Find out more about this Natural Resource Management project.

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