Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Icon Site Fish Condition Monitoring 2017 Annual Report
Duncan, M. and Martin, K., 2017. Koondrook-Perricoota Forest Icon Site Fish Condition Monitoring 2017 Annual Report. NSW DPI Report, 41p.
The Koondrook-Perricoota Forest (KPF) is a large floodplain forest located adjacent to the Murray River in southern New South Wales and is one of The Living Murray (TLM) icon sites, containing significant wetland and creek ecosystems. To assess the condition of the fish community and monitor progress toward the KPF refined ecological objective for fish, a fish condition monitoring project was implemented in 2011 after drought-breaking floods entered the KPF in 2010 and created fish habitat in wetlands and creeks. The KPF Fish Condition Monitoring in project has two major monitoring objectives: provide an annual status assessment of the condition of the KPF fish community; and assess trends in the condition of the KPF fish community.
This report documents the results of the fish condition monitoring at Koondrook-Perricoota Forest project in 2017 and the changes in the fish community monitored since 2011.
The main findings are:
- KPF provided habitat for eight native species in 2017.
- The native fish community in KPF is in very poor condition based on Sustainable Rivers Audit (SRA) indices. Native fish biomass within KPF waterbodies in 2017 averaged just 7% of total fish biomass, the second lowest since 2011. Abundance of native fish in KPF waterbodies in 2017 averaged 27%, the lowest since monitoring began.
- While abundance and biomass of native species was small, observed to expected index was comparable to previous years, indicating similar native species were present from year to year.
- Common carp juveniles were present in extremely large numbers in KPF in 2017. Data collected since the beginning of the study indicate that a spring flood event (natural or managed) in KPF resulted in a large proportion of juveniles in the following autumn. Flooding in June and July did not promote the same level of recruitment, suggesting this may be the best time to deliver environmental flows if the goal is to minimise carp spawning and recruitment response.
- The condition of the native fish community in KPF is unlikely to improve further until additional management actions are implemented, such as controlling carp populations or reintroducing locally extinct species.