The Habitat Action Grants are funded from the Recreational Fishing Trusts which direct funding generated by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee towards onground actions to improve fish habitat and recreational fishing in NSW.
Angling clubs, individuals, community groups, local councils and organisations interested in rehabilitating fish habitats in freshwater and saltwater areas throughout NSW can apply for small grants of $2,000 or large grants of up to $40,000.
Habitat rehabilitation projects which may be funded include:
For further information refer to the Habitat Action Grants Guidelines (PDF, 412.54 KB)
2020 Habitat Action Grant funding application forms:
Applications for the 2020/2021 Habitat Action Grants are now closed.
For successful applicants there is a requirement to report on the project's progress as milestones are met, at the projects completion, and annually following a completion of on-ground works for projects where there is an ongoing maintenance period.
Milestone payment requests should also be accompanied by a Progress report. At the end of a project, a Final report is required to be submitted with an expenditure statement or purchase receipts. This report needs to be approved prior to a final project payment.
There may also be times when a report is requested outside the payment schedule. All Progress reports and Final reports should be accompanied by photographs showing project progress/completion. Please use the reporting forms below if you have been successful in gaining funding through the Habitat Action Grant program. Files should be labelled following the guide in the filenames (using example project name "Fresh creek rehabilitation" by Richmond Valley Landcare):
|2019-2020||Twenty seven projects were funded in the 2019-2020 Habitat Action Grants (PDF, 148.26 KB) totaling over $688,000 with applicants providing over $950,000 of in-kind contributions. These grants will assist recreational anglers, local Councils, environment and community groups and private landholders to enhance and rehabilitate degraded recreational fish habitat through a range of on-ground works. Rehabilitation of fish habitat provides long-term sustainable benefits for native fish stocks and in turn provides substantial benefits for NSW recreational fishers who will enjoy more healthy productive fisheries. Improvements in fish habitat will also provide more opportunities for rural and regional communities to promote local tourism.|
|2018-2019||Twenty six projects were funded in the 2018-2019 Habitat Action Grants (PDF, 508.1 KB) totalling over $594,000 with applicants providing over $840,000 in inkind contributions. These grants will assist recreational anglers, local Councils, environment and community groups and private landholders to enhance and rehabilitate degraded recreational fish habitat through a range of on-ground works. Rehabilitation of fish habitat provides long-term sustainable benefits for native fish stocks and in turn provides substantial benefits for NSW recreational fishers who will enjoy more healthy productive fisheries. Improvements in fish habitat will also provide more opportunities for rural and regional communities to promote local tourism.|
|2017-2018||Twenty nine projects were funded in the 2017-2018 (PDF, 50.59 KB) Habitat Action Grants. Funding provided totals over $644,000.|
|2016-2017||Twenty-six projects were funded in the 2016-2017 Habitat Action Grants totalling over $554,000.|
Thirty one projects were funded in the 2015-2016 (PDF, 102.08 KB) Habitat Action Grants totaling over $748,000.
Thirty one projects were funded in the 2014-2015 (PDF, 211.78 KB) Habitat Action Grants totaling over $575,000
|2013-2014||Thirty projects were funded in the 2013-2014 Habitat Action Grants totaling almost $570,000|
Twenty five projects were funded in the 2012-2013 Habitat Action Grants. These grants totalling almost $525,000.
|2011-2012||Twenty five projects were funded in the 2011-2012 Habitat Action Grants, totalling $550,000.|
|2010-2011||Thirty-one projects were funded in the 2010-2011 (PDF, 51.56 KB) Habitat Action Grants, totalling $545,000.|
Removal or modification of barriers to fish passage
Many freshwater fish species are migratory and must move between a variety of habitats to complete essential life history stages. Even a small structure such as a concrete causeway or a pipe culvert can create a barrier such as a small waterfall or shallow flow depths and restrict fish movement. The removal of barriers such as the one on Duroby Creek in the Tweed Catchment or the modification of structures through the construction of a fishway or the remodelling of a crossing such as Locketts Crossing on the Coolongolook River can have instant benefits for fish.
Rehabilitation of riparian lands (river banks, wetlands, mangrove forests, saltmarsh)
Fish and other aquatic species prefer waterbodies with healthy, endemic riparian vegetation because the plants:
The protection of existing remnant vegetation and the rehabilitation of unhealthy riparian lands such as the project which was undertaken at Toogimbie Wetland in the Riverina or the project on the banks of Mullumbimby Creek in the Brunswick River catchment are important steps in supporting healthy fish populations.
Re-snagging waterways with timber structure
Large woody structure provides one of the most important habitats for fish within a river or creek. In some cases, numbers of native fish in a waterway are often directly related to the amount of wood. Woody structure provides protection from predators, shelter from direct sunlight, resting areas out of the main channel flow, territorial markers, breeding sites and foraging sites. Large wood in streams can also increase bank stability and reduce waterway erosion. Re-snagging a waterway which is largely devoid of woody structure such as the Molong Creek project can provide immediate benefits to fish.
Removal of exotic vegetation from waterways
Exotic vegetation such as willows, blackberries and camphor laurel invade stream banks and exclude
native vegetation, changing the structure and function of the riparian zone, creating a poor habitat for fish. Willows, for example, are deciduous, dropping their leaves all in one go. This alters the timing and quality of organic inputs in the stream, causes wide temperature variations and reduces the amount of shade and protection. An exotic vegetation management project in conjunction with revegetation of the area with endemic plant species such as the one at South Creek in St Marys, Sydney, will enhance stream health.
Bank stabilisation works
River bank erosion is a natural process however, grazing and pugging from uncontrolled livestock, loss of riparian vegetation, invasion of exotic plants, removal of instream woody structure and the excessive extraction of gravel or river sediments can all exacerbate the erosion process. Severe erosion of the river banks or stream bed can lead to an increase of sediment in the waterway which can affect water quality and when deposited can smother instream holes and fish habitat. Instream works such as those undertaken by private landholders at Pumpkin Point on the Karuah River or the more extensive works implemented by Port Macquarie Hastings Council on the Wilson River can assist in stabilising river banks and reducing erosion.
Reinstatement of natural flow regimes
Flood mitigation works such as water retention devices (eg floodgates) and drainage systems prevent flood waters or tidal waters from inundating low-lying land. In doing so, these measures can also affect natural flow regimes, restrict fish access to floodplain wetlands or upstream habitat and in some cases, expose acid sulfate soils. By working with landholders such as Fred and Chris Welsh on Micalo Island in the Clarence or local Councils such as Great Lakes at Darawakh Creek/Frogalla Swamp Wetland on the mid north coast, these structures and drainage works can be modified to reintroduce flows, alleviate issues related to acid sulfate soils and allow for fish passage whilst still ensuring private assets are protected.