Fish screen program to provide financial and environmental benefits to farmers

Landholders in the Western region have a fantastic opportunity to participate in a project that will save native fish populations while simultaneously improving the quality of water delivered to their property.

The ‘Screening our Streams’ project, which is being coordinated by Western Local Land Services, provides up to $5,000 to support landholders in the Western region of NSW for the installation of a fish-friendly screen on their pump intake.

The project is currently calling for expressions of interest, with Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders encouraging all eligible landholders interested in getting on board with this technology to submit an EOI.

“Fish-friendly screens are saving farm businesses water and time, and as a result money, while also contributing to the health of the river system,” Mr Saunders said.

“Importantly the screens don’t slow water delivery rates, and along with native fish, larvae and eggs, the screens also stop any floating weeds or debris entering the pump which improves pump efficiency.

“Installation of the screen at the intake point protects the pump from clogging and allows the pump to work at optimum performance. This minimises wear and tear on the pump and reduces the amount of time required for pump shutdown to clean secondary filters.”

In 2020, Western Local Land Services worked with Western NSW-based company Porker Citrus, which draws water from the Darling River, to install a fish-friendly screen on an irrigation pump at Ellerslie as a trial site.

Since installation, Porker Citrus have experienced significant improvements in water efficiency which has, in turn, generated interest and uptake in successive diversion screen installation projects.

Interested landholders are asked to read the guidelines and conditions for the project prior to submitting an EOI, which must be submitted by 2 December 2022.

The guidelines and conditions, EOI form, and a short film showcasing the Porker Citrus trial site, is available at www.lls.nsw.gov.au. For further information contact Kaye Gottschutzke at kaye.gottschutzke@lls.nsw.gov.au.

This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program.

Media: Ben Walker, 0436 602 266.

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