Community members and EGCMA staff stand in front of the Lady Jane boat moored on the Nicholson River in East Gippsland.

Community members joined staff from the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) on a boat cruise of the Nicholson River last week with a bbq dinner provided courtesy of the Nicholson Angling Club.

Setting off from the Nicholson boat ramp, participants enjoyed a return trip to the mouth of the river to learn about the ecology of the waterway, water quality monitoring, fish habitat and river health projects undertaken across the catchment.

“We’ve been working together with the EGCMA to improve the health of the Nicholson River for over two decades” noted Marg Bradley, a life member of the angling club.

 “We’d like to thank the angling club and community members for being as passionate about East Gippsland’s rivers as we are.” said Mel Birleson, EGCMA Project Coordinator. “Getting people involved in our waterways is good for our health and wellbeing and a key priority in the Water Plan for Victoria.”

Members of the EGCMA, Greening Australia amd Bug Blitz stand alongside students of Clifton Creek Primary on the banks of the Nicholson River at Deptford.

Clifton Creek Primary School students travelled to the Nicholson River at Deptford to learn about the history of the area with members of the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), Greening Australia and Bug Blitz.

Walking downstream, students visited the old diversion tunnel built next to the river in a quest to find gold and had a hard time believing that the area once had a population of 300 people and it’s own local school.

With nets in hand, they were able to explore the tiny critters that live in and around the river and better understand what a healthy waterway looks like. They even found a Gypsy Jumping spider, which is common in NSW and Queensland but never before recorded in East Gippsland.

“It’s great for the kids to explore the local community”, said Sue Paul, Principal of Clifton Creek Primary. “The kids love a nature walk and are currently studying habitat and endangered species so it’s important to be able to connect what we’re learning in the classroom with what’s happening out in the world.”

Last week saw the release of 25,000 Bass fingerlings into East Gippsland’s waterways, with 15,000 released into the Nicholson and 10,000 into the Brodribb River as part of a project undertaken by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), Bairnsdale RSL Fishing Club, Marlo Angling Club and the Victorian Fisheries Authority.

As a passionate fisherman, David Ballinger President of the Marlo Angling Club understands the importance of a healthy waterway and is eager to boost Bass numbers. “This is all about the protection of a species by supporting and building of a healthy population. This is so important to us as a club and we are all very proud to be involved.”

“Our club is always eager to play our part in promoting a healthy fishery.” said Russell White, President of the RSL Fishing Club. “Australian Bass are an iconic fish to this area and we want to keep them here.”

Graeme Dear, CEO of EGCMA said “Working together with our local angling clubs benefits both the health of our rivers and the fisherman who love to catch Bass.”

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.