Putting fish back into Fish Creek is both the title and the intention of Fish Creek Landcare Group’s new catchment-wide project being launched in the Fish Creek Memorial Hall supper room between 10.30 am and 12 noon on Saturday October 26, 2019.
The Landcare group wants to connect with landowners and managers whose properties are located along or near the Fish Creek itself and/or its many tributaries and to encourage them to embrace a whole-catchment point of view.
Fish Creek is about 30 kilometres long and its watershed follows a similar line to the South Gippsland Highway at Foster North.
It discharges into the Tarwin River between Middle Tarwin and Tarwin Lower via the Fish Creek “drains”, a man-made section of drain that was made to redirect the creek through natural floodplain before entering the river.
The catchment extends east to the Hoddle Range, south-east towards Waratah North, west towards Buffalo and south towards Walkerville.
The Fish Creek catchment forms part of the larger Tarwin River catchment and ultimately flows into Andersons Inlet on the Bunurong Coast.
Fish Creek Landcare member Robin Stevens said the group “cordially invited all members of the community to celebrate the launch of the Putting Fish Back into Fish Creek project with us.
“We want everyone with an interest in the local environment to join us so they can find out more about our plans, hear from interesting speakers and enjoy a cuppa,” she said.
“We have local native tree and shrub seedlings to give away to people who come along to the launch as well as a new full-colour brochure that outlines what we are hoping to achieve with the help of landowners from throughout the catchment.”
Mrs Stevens said some landowners have already fenced off and planted the sections of the Fish Creek and its many tributaries, such as Amber Creek and Waratah Creek, that run through or past their properties.
“We are hoping to fill in the gaps as it were and to support other landowners to also fence and vegetate the riparian zones to improve water quality, protect remnant native vegetation and create vegetation corridors,” she said.
“Fish Creek Landcare can provide information on and help with fencing and planting, and supplement work already done by landowners.
“As the name of our project suggests we want to improve the health of all of the natural waterways in the catchment so that locally extinct native fish can be re-introduced and they and other aquatic life can thrive,” Mrs Stephens said.
“Other benefits of the Putting Fish Back into Fish Creek project include providing shade to decrease evaporation and keep water cool for fish, fencing to guard and enhance existing vegetation and to exclude livestock, and restoring denuded areas.
“Looking after the creeks also involves weed and pest control, and we’ll also be promoting the conversion of Crown Land water frontage licences to Riparian Management Licences, which attract a reduced licence fee,” she said.
“We will work with landowners from the watershed at the South Gippsland Highway to the Fish Creek township initially, and then continue the project from the township to the Fish Creek drains.”
The Fish Creek Landcare Group will be working closely with the South Gippsland Landcare Network and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and the area’s traditional owners on the Putting Fish Back into Fish Creek project.
Fish Creek Landcare members also want to involve the Fish Creek and District Primary School and Junior Landcare and are also encouraging Fish Creek township landowners to join too, as much of the town’s runoff drains into the Fish Creek.
“The Fish Creek Landcare Group commissioned Yackandandah-based Mach 2 Consulting to help produce a draft plan for the Putting Fish Back into Fish Creek project.
The draft document’s abstract states that “the Fish Creek Landcare Group [has] developed this plan to create a blueprint for working with community partners to help restore the health of the Fish Creek catchment.”For more information contact Fish Creek Landcare Group member Robin Stevens on 0427 343 947.