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A Joint Win for Anglers and the Environment: 9,000 Plants to Support Healthy Fish Habitats

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA), in partnership with Georges Riverkeeper is launching an exciting new project that will see the reintroduction of 9,000 plants in order to restore healthy fish habitats and food webs throughout the Georges River.  With support from the NSW DPI Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Trust, CVA teams will be working to restore key areas of fish habitat by reintroducing a fundamental species of saltmarsh across 6 different sites along the Georges River from Tonbridge Creek, Ramsgate to Chipping Norton Lakes, Lansvale / Chipping Norton.

This project is one of twenty-six projects successfully funded by the NSW DPI, with the goal of enhancing and rehabilitating degraded recreational fish habitat. Regional Co-ordinator for CVA Greater Sydney, David Jones explained: “Recent research identified that one particular saltmarsh species, Sporobolus virginicus, plays a fundamental role in estuarine food webs, providing food and habitat for lower trophic levels, such as plankton, crabs, snails and other invertebrates which are a primary food source for local fish species. Once abundant in the Georges River ecosystem, plant numbers have declined significantly due to the impacts of urbanisation. This programme will replant the habitat, ensuring higher fish stock numbers, and a stronger, more sustainable food web”. NSW DPI Fisheries, Program Leader – Murray Darling, Cameron Lay explained the significance of the grant, saying: “It’s fantastic that well over a million dollars will go into enhancing and rehabilitating fish habitats because ultimately, it’s not only the fish who will benefit… land will be protected and water quality in our rivers will be improved.”

Georges Riverkeeper Chairman, Geoff Shelton says, “The Georges River hosts an incredibly rich and diverse array of plant and animal species, with over 350 species of fauna recorded within the catchment. It is also a significant recreational area for families, bushwalkers, and fishers alike. However, with over 1 million people living in the catchment area, it is one of the most highly urbanised catchments in Australia. As a result, the Georges River and its inhabitants are highly susceptible to the threats of urbanisation, with some sites becoming increasingly degraded over time. Whilst this project will have benefits for the fish in the river, it’s not recommended to eat fish caught upstream of Rabaul Road Boat Ramp, Georges Hall, and all waters of Salt Pan Creek, upstream of Henry Lawson Drive.”

Jones continued: “Conservation Volunteers will be working with the Georges Riverkeeper team, land managers and local community volunteers to restore this incredible river system for all to enjoy.  We’re delighted to invite the local community to join us on this important programme”.

This project will be an incredible opportunity to create a positive impact on a major river system such as the Georges River, with teams restoring sites within 6 Council LGAs including: Bayside Council, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Fairfield Council, Georges River Council, Liverpool Council and Sutherland Shire Council.

Volunteers can register to participate in this project by visiting www.conservationvolunteers.com.au or contacting the Greater Sydney Conservation Volunteers office on (02) 4721 4625 or [email protected]

This Project has been assisted by the NSW DPI Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Trust’s “Habitat Action Grant Program”

Below: Tony Wales, Georges Riverkeeper, and David Jones, Conservation Volunteers Australia, inspect sites selected to plant Sporobolus

L-R Tony Wales, Georges Riverkeeper, and David Jones, Conservation Volunteers Australia, inspect sites selected to plant Sporobolus