Three years after bushfires, then floods, devastated the Nymboida River, its revival is continuing to gather pace in and out of the water.
And the rejuvenation of the area is not just on land with the endangered eastern freshwater cod also benefiting from the countless hours of hard work that has been put in to help regenerate the catchment.
The latest boost to habitat on the Nymboida comes from a combination of community grants awarded to the Clarence River Chapter of OzFish Unlimited, Australia's fishing conservation charity, following assistance from Landcare Bushfire Recovery Grants.
Funds secured from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Yulgilbar Foundation will result in 5km of exotic weeds being removed from the riparian zone and 1000 local native plants established in their place.
A further three hectares of weed management and another 1000 trees are being funded by the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife through its bushfire recovery restoration grants.
OzFish and Landcare NSW volunteer groups in the region have used a long-term agreement to restore fish habitat across New South Wales.
Trees will be planted on community education days and is backed by support from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts that will see local Landcare groups collaborate with recreational fishers to drive the restoration of fish habitat on the Nymboida River and secure the future of the endangered eastern freshwater cod and other inhabitants, including platypuses.
“The vegetation in the riparian zone, especially after the fires was pretty fragile,” said Alacia Cockbain, OzFish Project Officer - NSW Coast.
The Nymboida is one of the last remaining breeding grounds of a wild population of eastern freshwater cod. As recently as the 1980s there were less than 1000 left in the wild.
A breeding and restocking program for the freshwater cod has resulted in fingerlings being released while an artificial spawning habitat has been trialled in the river over the past year to further replenish numbers.
One of the important elements to protecting the eastern freshwater cod is the ban on all fishing in the Nymboida River, Mann River and all its tributaries upstream of its junction with the Clarence River from the beginning of August until the end of October.
This three-month fishing closure is during their breeding season when the cod are quite aggressive protecting their eggs from predators.
“They are totally protected. If people catch them by accident outside of the breeding season, they should keep them in the water and safely release them straight away,” Ryan Lungu, OzFish’s NSW Coast Program Manager, said.
All fishing gear in or adjacent to these seasonally closed waters is prohibited with heavy fines in place for anyone who transgresses.
This project was made possible by the OzFish-Landcare NSW partnership, and funded by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Yulgilbar Foundation, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.
A dropbox of images of OzFish’s restoration work at Nymboida River is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qfzcje8ofdc38yx/AADhkWQtI_0t_iJSz-Io9GYLa?dl=0
If you would like to know more about the project or get involved become a member of OzFish at www.ozfish.org.au or phone 1800 431 308.
OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, clean-ups, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.
If you would like further information about the project or to interview Alacia Cockbain, please contact OzFish Unlimited Communications Manager Paul Suttor
0421 491 229 | email@example.com