Wetland Care Australia -Projects Archive
Fish Unlimited, an innovative environmental project which aimed to repair over 130 ha of fish habitat stretching from Tweed Heads to Ballina NSW. Landholders were paid to conduct agreed on-ground works and also receive fair market-value stewardship payments for "lost" productivity on the private land returned to fish habitat. Seventy percent (70 %) of repaired fish habitat will be privately owned grazing or sugar cane land, and thirty percent (30%) will be owned or managed by Local Government or Traditional Owners.
This project was supported by a federal Government Sustainable Regions Programme project, with strong support from State and Local Government, private landholders, and the local commercial fishing industry. A significant and generous contributor was the Tweed Shire Council. date, Wetland Care Australia have funds of $564,075 and recently secured an in-principle agreement with Melbourne company Rapid Map to provide in-kind GIS mapping for the targeted area, incorporating all river catchments from the Tweed River south to the Richmond River.
The funds will be used to employ a Fish Habitat Project Officer, who will work on the ground with landholders to improve the fish habitat. Funds will also be used to reimburse landholders who undertake agreed on-ground works and pay them for lost productivity on their private land which is returned to a fish habitat. The amount and duration of stewardship payments will be negotiated with landholders participating in Fish Unlimited.
If you wish to participate in Fish Unlimited, a project officer from Wetland Care Australia will inspect your property and discuss with you activities that could be undertaken to make your property more fish friendly and involve you in the scheme. This could be for one-off or progressive works. You may have a creek that runs through your property and the old crossing prevents fish from migrating up and downstream. If there is enough upstream water and its good quality habitat the Fish Unlimited project could contribute to the cost of a new fish friendly crossing. Alternatively we might work with you to establish mangroves in areas outside the levee.
To be evaluated for the project, please contact the Ballina office of Wetland Care Australia during business hours on 02 6681 6169
Fish Unlimited, is Wetland Care Australia's key on-ground project repairing mangrove and saltmarsh in Sponsors Lagoon, a tidal wetland near Fingal in the Lower Tweed Estuary.
Fish Unlimited is an innovative partnership managed by WCA, and includes the NSW Fisheries Department, Tweed Shire Council and in the case of Sponsors Lagoon, the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council.
In the case of Sponsors Lagoon, the land is owned by the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council. A long history of disturbance by sand mining and vehicles has damaged the vegetation in these areas, particularly the saltmarsh. The project team consists of four members of the TBLALC, performing the works under supervision of a WCA Site Supervisor. The key to successful rehabilitation of Sponsors Lagoon will be prevention of any further vehicle access. Track locations have been identified and mapped; the rehabilitation areas have been closed off and sand filling of the wheel ruts has commenced. Following on from this task will be the important work of reintroducing species like Salt Couch and Bead Weed. Local samples that the team have collected and will propagate on the compound will be planted in the bare sandy flats.
In undertaking these works, the TBLALC has been able to capitalise on their program of training bush regenerators like the four project team members. The Council brings the skilled people, equipment and an appropriate site to the project, with materials, technical advice and other support provided through Wetland Care Australia's Fish Unlimited project.
Project Update February 2006
The Fish Unlimited Project is drawing to a close with some on ground works yet to be completed. While most projects have been completed, some works were delayed by rain, water levels or other factors. Works are currently underway with assistance from EnviTE on a Fish Unlimited project to fence and replant the banks of a drain, which joins Sandy Creek in the Bungawalbin Catchment. Working with Richmond River County Council this project will form a demonstration site to display the effectiveness of native vegetation at maintaining bank stability, increasing water quality and habitat while reducing drain maintenance costs. If successful this site may be used as a model to promote drain bank revegetation over the entire drainage network.