Grayling make a splash in the Latrobe River

Evidence of an endangered fish species breeding in the Latrobe River has been found near Fulham for the first time.

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority CEO, Martin Fuller, said the breeding, otherwise known as spawning, was an important part of the lifecycle of the protected Australian grayling.

“Over the last 10 years we’ve worked with neighbouring landholders and other agencies to improve the health of the Latrobe River,” said Mr Fuller.

“This has included works such as fencing off the river to make sure stock don’t get in, replanting native vegetation to stabilise the banks of the river and provide shade, reinstating sections of the river that were previously cut off and releasing environmental water into the river system.”

Environmental water is water stored in reservoirs and released to improve or maintain the health of rivers, wetlands, plants and animals.

Mr Fuller said, “The Australian grayling eggs were found in a section of the Latrobe River that had previously been cut off. In 2014 we completed restoration works that ensured flowing water returned to this part of the river.

“This reinstatement has two outcomes; the first that water flowing in the river is slowed, reducing erosion and the second that there is more habitat available to native fish.

“Seeing the result of environmental works can be slow,” continued Mr Fuller.

“What we are witnessing now is the combination of persistence, planning and patience really paying off.

“It’s a combination of works over a long period of time that has made sure conditions are just right for the Australian grayling to spawn.”

An environmental water release in autumn 2015 was timed to coincide with the grayling spawning period and, significantly, provided a flush of water that flowed around the newly re-connected bend in the lower Latrobe.

Environmental water releases are prioritised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2014-15. Funding for this project was provided by the Victorian Government.