A clever new initiative has been launched to restore the once-thriving fish populations of the Logan and Albert Rivers. The project is a partnership between fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited, Logan City Council and Healthy Land and Water, and they’re encouraging the entire community to get involved.
For some people, it is hard to associate planting trees with a healthy and abundant fish population. But trees create shade, shore up the bank from erosion, provide fish food by way of insect fall, filter water that comes from urban landscapes, shade out weeds, and make future homes and habitat for native fish.
So as a launchpad for the new project, which is squarely aimed at tackling the worrying decline of native fish, a tree planting event was held at the Logan River Parklands, which will kick off support for fish habitat and fish populations in the Logan and Albert Rivers.
Fishers and community members turned out in force, planting 1000 trees in under two hours.
This is the first of many on-ground activities made possible by a 3-year, $300,000 funding program. The Fishers for Fish Habitat project was officially launched by MP Bert van Manen, Member for Forde at the planting event, who explained that the project will tackle declining fish habitat on many fronts and in priority locations along the Logan and Albert Rivers.
He says the new project is being led by peak environmental group for South East Queensland, Healthy Land and Water with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program in partnership with OzFish Unlimited and the Logan City Council.
South East Queensland Project Officer from OzFish, Robbie Porter explained more about the range of on-ground habitat restoration initiatives which would be deployed to help the local fishery and the fishers wanting to access it.
“OzFish is excited to be working in the Logan and Albert River catchment, we have so many enthusiastic fishers here who are keen to roll up their sleeves and help us develop a healthy fishery,” he said.
“A number of in-stream structures called fish hotels are being planned for Scrubby Creek and Riedel Park. These snags will be made from old tree logs and become great fish habitat.
“At the Logan River Parklands and Scrubby Creek, there will be bank stabilisation and revegetation work.
“A shellfish reef restoration trial will be deployed at the lower Albert, using recycled oyster shell to regenerate the once prevalent ecosystem.
“Importantly, we want to know if all these innovations make a positive change to the rivers health so monitoring systems will be put in place to see how the fish respond.
Other components of this project include the protection and restoration of saltmarsh at Riedel Park and the removal of barriers to fish passage in Scrubby Creek.
Project manager, Healthy Land and Water’s Susie Chapman says the strength of the project is the active collaboration behind the project’s delivery. She says that this project for the Logan and Albert builds on the learnings of earlier successful projects, including shellfish habitat restoration projects in the Pumicestone and Central Moreton areas.
“This has been a great way for the community to get actively involved in the health of the rivers in their backyard, and to learn about protecting and revitalising fish habitat health. A highlight for many attendees was learning about the fish habitat enhancement structures recent installed nearby from Logan council officers,” she says.
“It has been good to see the early interest by local recreational fishers in being involved in the new OzFish Chapter which is being established in the Logan-Albert as part of this project.
This local OzFish Chapter will be supported by established groups for the Gold Coast, Pumicestone Passage, Maroochy River and Central Moreton Bay,” she said.
Logan City Council are to be praised for their forethought into fish habitat restoration, having put together a Fish Habitat Restoration Strategy outlining their priority works to improve fish stocks in their rivers back in 2019.
Logan City Council’s Deputy Environment Chair, Councillor Miriam Stemp, said the Logan and Albert Rivers Fish Habitat Enhancement Plan 2020-2035 was put in place to improve and support the health of the waterways.
“The waterways and rivers play a big role in the lives of City of Logan residents and support an active recreational fishing industry,” she said.
“Projects and activities like these go a long way towards restoring our fish population and supporting the river ecosystem.”
For more information on joining the new OzFish Chapter or to support their continued work to protect and restore fish habitat across Australia go to ozfish.org.au