Fish surveys in the Upper Buffalo River, near Dandongadale, this week will help determine the impact of last summer’s bushfires on the critically endangered Macquarie Perch population.

Researchers from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Arthur Rylah Institute of Environmental Research (ARI) are undertaking the surveys with the use of fyke nets.

DELWP Biodiversity Recovery Coordinator, Glen Johnson, said:” Understanding the level of impact on the species is critical to its future survival.”
“We know that prior to the bushfires that the Upper Buffalo River was a key area for the species, and the surveys will give us the best insight into how they have responded and what management actions might be required.”

“Post fire rain events washed a significant amount of ash, sediment and other debris into the river system, seriously threatening the survival of the fish.

“Survey results will assist land and fisheries managers to determine if additional stocking programs and other works are required to protect the species, including the translocation of a number of fish from Lake Dartmouth,” Mr Johnson said.

The Macquarie Perch is a native freshwater fish found in the cooler areas of the Murray-Darling Basin and has undergone a long-term decline due to overfishing, less vegetation for habitat, regulated natural flows and competition for habitat by trout.

During the last decade, the species has been successfully reintroduced into the nearby Ovens River as part of a collaborative project between DELWP, ARI with support from the North East CMA and the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

The latest surveys are part of an ongoing to program to improve the long-term survival of Macquarie Perch in the Buffalo River.

Other works have included emergency fish salvage operations immediately following the fires, with some being returned in June once the water quality improved, breeding programs, weed removal and habitat improvement works.

“These surveys will help us to better understand the combined impacts of fire and other threats on the species so we can ensure that it survives for future generations,” Mr Johnson said.

This project forms part of the Victorian Government’s Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program which supports on-ground action to help at risk species impacted by last summer’s devastating bushfires.

All activity complies with DHHS requirements prioritising the safety of the Victorian community, our staff and contractors.

Page last updated: 22/12/20