Fish friendly councils top tip 3

3. Ensure council infrastructure is fish friendly

Being able to move freely upstream and downstream is critical to the survival of native fish. Different species of fish move at different times to find food and shelter, to avoid predators and to reach breeding sites. Unfortunately, thousands of structures, including dams, regulators, weirs and road crossings, have been constructed throughout Australian river systems. These structures impede fish passage and reduce water quality, change natural flows and accumulate sediment in upstream pools. These structures may also be unsafe and unreliable for residents especially when rivers rise. There is a range of options available for Councils who want to address these structures and restore fish passage.

Council can ...

  • obtain advice from appropriate state government agencies on fish passage requirements and permits. See the Council and developer tool kit
  • identify barriers and incorporate their remediation into works programs. Fish passage barrier reports.
  • remove redundant weirs and road crossings
  • modify structures that are barriers such as installing fishways on existing weirs. Watch fish using the fishway at Wolli Creek (video made by Gavin Gatenby of the Wolli Creek Preservation Society).
  • include a fishway or otherwise allow for fish passage in new structures
  • ensure flood mitigation infrastructure is fish-friendly.

Case Study - Coral Avenue, Brunswick River, Byron Shire Council

 Coral avenue - before

The crossing at Coral Avenue before works to improve fish passage. Image I&I NSW

 Coral avenue- after

The crossing at Coral Avenue after the works were completed. Image I&I NSW

Over 25 km of habitat in the Brunswick River, on the North Coast NSW, was opened for fish passage following the remediation of this piped causeway with a bridge structure by Byron Shire Council. Funding assistance was provided by Byron Shire Council, the Recreational Fishing Trusts, Cape Byron Marine Park Authority and I&I NSW. More about Coral Avenue or other examples from catchment areas across the State.

See also