Native fish recovery works in the Gunbower and lower Loddon are set to deliver healthier habitats for iconic species like the Murray cod and silver and golden perch.

Environmental flows will begin at Loddon Weir on 3 April and Pyramid Creek on 4 April. The flow will gradually increase to target 700ML a day for 10 days at Kerang Weir.

The North Central Catchment Management Authority will manage the flow down from Pyramid Creek and the Loddon Weir towards the Murray.

The flow is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s broader $222 million initiative to improve the health of waterways and catchments across regional Victoria as part of the Water for Victoria plan.

It is planned to trigger fish movements into improved waterways that will better allow the critically endangered silver perch and golden perch through the Lower Loddon and up Pyramid Creek to Kow Swamp and access the great habitat in the Loddon River around Canary Island and below Loddon Weir.

The Native Fish Recovery Plan has improved habitats for native fish by building fishways at weirs, re-installing snags, fencing and revegetating river banks, and managing flows to encourage movement.

The flow builds on recently completed works, including 26 fixed snag piles in Pyramid Creek, fencing, weed control and revegetation improvements along the river banks.  Goulburn Murray Water has also constructed a new fishway at Kow Swamp giving fish access to the fertile feeding ground for the first time since the system was modified.

Native fish such as silver and golden perch need to build their condition over winter, to help them have a strong spawning season. Kow Swamp and the reaches around Canary Island have great habitat which support lots of water bugs, which in turn are highly valuable sources of food.

The new snags in Pyramid Creek will provide the fish with resting points and food as they travel and, for the first time, they will no longer bump their heads on the Box Creek Weir.

Health river flows, and better habitat together with record fish stocking across Victoria is all part of the State Governments commitment to have healthy waterways and get one million Victorians fishing by 2020.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville

“It’s clear that healthy rivers and wetlands are important for the social, economic and environmental health of local communities.”

 “We want to create a world-class trophy fishery in this region and bring fish numbers and sizes back to what they once were.”

“There is no reason we can’t, once again, expect to see metre-long Murray cod and thousands of silver and golden perch to swim in our local waterways.”