One thing that’s been emphasised by Fisheries Victoria’s Wild Trout Program, is the benefit to trout of riparian vegetation and particularly shade. Streams flowing through farmland and exposed to the full force of the summer sun, can run several degrees warmer than shaded streams nearby. This can mean the difference between habitable and uninhabitable for trout. So it’s fantastic to see flyfishers working with catchment management authorities to do something about it.
Jim Castles from Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority describes the latest collaboration on the June long weekend:
“Members of the Mansfield and District Fly fishers Club, the Australian Trout Foundation and Up2Us Landcare Alliance worked alongside staff from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Mansfield Shire to plant more than 500 trees and shrubs along the Delatite River near Mansfield. Re-establishing native riparian vegetation, including trees, shrubs, grasses and ground covers, will help improve the health of the river.”
“Like many of the upper Goulburn streams, the Delatite River has an east-west orientation and is exposed to the hot summer sun as a result. We know that native riparian vegetation plays an important role in shading streams and keeping the water cool. We approached the Mansfield and District Fly fishers Club for some assistance with this project and they were very keen to help out. Members of the Australian Trout Foundation and the Up2Us Landcare Alliance were also more than happy to assist on the day, so a group of 20 people meant we were able to get the trees in the ground really quickly.”
“The trees and shrubs will eventually result in an increase in instream habitat (snags), and will also provide leaves for aquatic insects to eat. Over time the trees will grow large enough to provide shade and will result in a natural supply of large timber branches and leaf litter to the stream which will provide important habitat and food for fish.”
“Many reaches of the Delatite River have been cleared of native riparian vegetation and the stream has been lacking shade and input of leaf litter from native tree and shrub species, so this work is a very important step towards rehabilitating the river.”
(The Delatite River is listed as a priority stream in the Goulburn Broken Waterway Strategy 2014-2022. This revegetation project is an important component of the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Protecting Rivers of High Community Value Project, which is part of the Victorian Government funded On-Ground Works Program.)