Severn River snags to boost native fish numbers

5 Oct 2017

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is undertaking re-snagging works to improve native fish habitat in the Lower Severn River.

The reintroduction of snags - part of a collaborative project between DPI Fisheries and the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) - aims to boost habitat for small and large native fish, including some threatened species.

“Recent mapping has identified a low number of snags in parts of the Severn River,” said NSW DPI Fisheries Manager Charlie Carruthers.

“’Snags’ are fallen trees or boulders that are a major ecological and structural element of our waterways.

“They increase in-stream habitat for native fish by providing hiding and resting places out of the main flow of the river as well as spawning sites for several species of native fish, including popular recreational species such as Murray Cod,” he said.

“Snags also play an important role in the food webs of our waterways with small aquatic animals such as shrimp feeding on the algae that grow on snags and in-turn becoming food for larger fish.”

Works are scheduled to occur later this month downstream of Pindari Dam and river users are reminded to stay well clear of works areas.

Andrew Walsh from Northern Tablelands LLS said re-snagging works complement the efforts of local landholders and the LLS over the last two years to protect the Severn River and its banks through stock exclusion fencing.

“River bank vegetation is extremely important to river health and water quality. Protecting the little trees now will ensure there are plenty of big trees in future which will eventually become natural snags when they fall into the water,” he said.

“Rehabilitating fish habitat increases opportunities for recreational fishing and is an important leisure activity that contributes economic and social benefits to the local community.”

Materials for the project have been donated by the Forestry Corporation of NSW. Forestry Corporation’s Soil and Water Specialist Peter Walsh said they were pleased to be able to supply a few small trees that were removed as part of road-works in a nearby State Forest.

“It’s great to be able to support river rehabilitation projects such as this in the broader local area,” Mr Walsh said.

This project is funded by NSW Catchment Action Program and supported by Forestry Corporation NSW.

Media contact: Phil Bevan 0419 602 508