Helping fish with trees

 

Trees are not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about fishing.

But trees are vital for healthy waterways and local fishing groups turned out last weekend to give the Macalister River a health boost.

On Saturday, 1st June, 33 people planted 500 native trees and shrubs at the junction of the Macalister River and Stony Creek near Licola.

The group included representatives from the Australian Trout Foundation, Victorian Fly Fishers Association, Southern Fly Fishers, Bairnsdale and Sale Fly Fishing Clubs and government agencies. Some keen fishers travelled up to four hours to join in.

Matt Bowler, Team Leader at the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) said the day was organised as part of an ongoing program to get local angling groups involved in the work being done on riverbanks and waterways.

“The Angler Riparian Partnership program gives local anglers the chance to work directly with the CMA to improve fishing in their favourite rivers and streams.

“Anglers have incredible local knowledge about the state of our rivers and streams,” said Matt.

“They know which fish are prevalent in each area and if fish stocks are declining or changing. And they understand that healthy land and vegetation in and around the rivers is vital.”

Terry George from the Australian Trout Foundation (ATF) said it was a fantastic event that everyone enjoyed.

“The Australian Trout Foundation is immensely proud of the habitat army volunteers who helped plant 500 trees and grasses along the banks of the Macalister River.

“It’s all about working together,” Terry said.

“A fantastic group of conservationist anglers working together to restore the health of our waterways and fisheries. It doesn’t get much better than that; it was a great day.”

Terry said the ATF strongly supported the restoration and replanting of riverbanks under the Angler Riparian Partnership Program.

“Carefully selected native trees on our riverbanks provide important shade, stability and habitat for terrestrials, and food for fish. Warming waters are a huge problem and research has found that a shaded pool can be up to 10℃ cooler than an unshaded pool; the solution – plant more trees.”

After the planting, the group took a tour along the river at Glenfalloch Station which has 50kms of river frontage onto the Macalister. They inspected trees planted ten years ago and discussed fish ecology and waterway management.

Matt said working together was a win for the river, the fish and the anglers.

“Healthy soil and vegetation along the rivers buffers water temperatures, filters nutrients and sediment and provides shade, food and places to shelter.

“When the land around rivers and streams is healthy, there’s a direct benefit to the waterway,” said Matt.

“Healthy rivers and streams improve fish populations and ultimately provide better fishing.”

The planting day was organised by the WGCMA as part of the Victorian Government’s Angler Riparian Partnerships Program.

group at tree planting day
500 native trees and shrubs were planted at the junction of the Macalister River and Stony Creek by members of WGCMA, Arthur Rylah Institute, DELWP and local angler groups, including the Australian Trout Foundation, Victorian Fly Fishers Association, Southern Fly Fishers, Bairnsdale and Sale Fly Fishing Clubs.
tree planting
Paul Stolz, from the Australian Trout Foundation, was one of the many volunteers at the tree planting day.