Helping fish find their way – Buchan Fishway

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) recently received the results from fish monitoring in the Buchan River prior to installing a rock ramp fishway.

The rock ramp fishway aims to address the barrier to fish migration caused by the presence of the Buchan water supply log weir. Currently, the weir is a barrier to fish as they cannot migrate upstream to breed. The EGCMA is working closely with East Gippsland Water to construct the rock ramp fishway.

The monitoring provides a snapshot of native fish populations close to the log weir and the proposed fishway. There were seven species of native fish detected from sites up and downstream of the weir.

Species identified included Longfin eel, Australian bass, Congoli, Common galaxias, Flat-headed gudgeon, Australian smelt and Southern pygmy perch. Finding Southern pygmy perch in the Buchan River is significant because they are listed as a threatened species.

The results from the monitoring confirmed there were fewer fish species upstream of the log weir compared to downstream, providing further evidence that the log weir is a barrier to native fish migration.

The installation of the rock ramp fishway is planned to commence in February 2023, but the start date of the work will depend on weather conditions and river height levels. There will be further fish monitoring once the fishway has been completed, and it is hoped that the results from post-construction fish monitoring will prove the fishway has been effective in supporting native fish migration upstream of the weir.

This project is funded by the Victorian Government’s Waterway Health Program.

Fish monitoring in the Buchan River
Fish monitoring on the Buchan River

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past and present.