Fishway progressing well

Work on the fishway at Horseshoe Bend is on schedule, despite the project start date being delayed by bushfire.

The fishway has been designed to restore water flows around Horseshoe Bend and reconnect the Thomson River.

Chief Executive Officer of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Martin Fuller, said the project progress was encouraging.

“The bushfires earlier in the year did delay the start of the project, but as soon as our contractors were able to access the site, things have flowed very smoothly.

“Once work began, it was apparent that we would not need to excavate as much as originally thought. The existing stream profile matched the fishway design and as a result, a lot less material has been removed from the riverbed than anticipated.

“At this stage, we are on track to complete and commission the fishway before the end of June,” Mr Fuller confirmed.

“Restoring the flow around Horseshoe Bend will permanently reconnect the upper reaches of the Thomson River for fish migration.

“This is vital for improving the health and resilience of the river and will open up more than 80kms of new habitat for migratory fish species.”

Managing the project
Careful monitoring of the worksite has been an integral part of the Thomson River Fishway project plan and has included appointing a Stakeholder Reference Group, organising cultural heritage assessments, installing vibration monitoring equipment, site inspections by Heritage Victoria and mercury testing.

“As part of our project plan, we committed to conducting mercury testing at the fishway depth during construction,” said Mr Fuller.

“These tests have confirmed the results of earlier tests which showed the mercury levels are not a danger to humans or animals.”

He also stressed that the surrounding area would be rehabilitated once the project was completed.

“The access track to the river has been widened to allow machinery access to the river,” Mr Fuller explained.

“Once the work is completed, the track will be returned to its original size and then rehabilitated in line with our Environmental Management Plan.

Tracks in the area have required rehabilitation after works in the past. WGCMA staff have conducting photo point monitoring over the years to watch how the bush regenerates.

“Based on this we expect the area at the Horseshoe Bend track to fully regenerate over time.”

Photos illustrating rehabilitation of access tracks in 2012 are available on the WGCMA website.

Mr Fuller also confirmed that a new Chair for the project’s Stakeholder Reference Group would be announced shortly, following the passing of group’s former Chair Llew Vale.

“The WGCMA is grateful for the work Mr Vale did in the role of Independent Chair and was deeply saddened by his passing.”

For information on the Thomson River Fishway, please visit the project page on our website. 

Working on Fishway at Horseshoe Bend
Work is on track to complete and commission the fishway before the end of June