Jungle perch stretch their fins in Brendale

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A recently constructed fish ladder on the South Pine River aims to improve native fish populations

BRENDALE Catchment Solutions and Moreton Bay Regional Council have completed a nature like rock ramp fish ladder at Leitch’s Crossing on the South Pine River, Queensland, to allow economically valuable juvenile fish to move freely upstream.

Catchments Solutions fisheries biologist Matt Moore said, “Native fish are really poor swimmers and can only swim fast in small bursts meaning road crossings, causeways, weirs and culverts provide barriers”.

The velocity through the pipes and the drop of downstream at Leitch’s Crossing had been preventing critical life-cycle dependant migrations upstream for decades and impacting native fish populations.

“We’ve opened up breeding habitat for Jungle perch and Australian bass popular with recreational fishers”, said Matt.

Division 9 Councillor Mike Charlton said the new fishway, located on the border between Brendale and Albany Creek, was much like a set of stairs, allowing fish to easily make their way up and down the peak of an existing culvert one step at a time.

Over 400 tonne of rock weighing as much as 3.5 tonne each were strategically placed with a large excavator to form a series of pools interspersed with small 70 mm drops.

Catchment Solutions has completed three out of the planned five fish-ways to re-connect fish habitat fragmented by barriers in South-east Queensland. These five were identified as the most important needing remediation out of 13,797 barriers in the region.

The South Pine River fish ladder is a joint project between Moreton Bay Regional Council and Reef Catchments with co-funding from the Australian Government National Landcare Programme (Target Area Grant). The design and construction of the Fish Ladder on Leitchs Crossing in Brendale was overseen by environmental consultants Catchment Solutions.

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