Fish monitoring for the Broken River Restoration project - M/BUS/334
MDFRC Publication 11/2010
Fish monitoring phase of Broken River Rehabilitation Project (see Summary report 2009), plus Phase 1 of Broken River Restoration Project (see Phase 1- Site selection report) and (Phase 1 – Scoping Report), plus Phase 2 of Broken River Rehabilitation Project (see Summary survey of fish and macroinvertebrates June 2006 to May 2007) and (final report 2008).
The abundance of large woody debris (LWD) within lowland river channels is a major driver of both primary productivity and community structure of fish and invertebrates as well as other associated biota (Nicol et al. 2002). In Australian lowland rivers the substratum generally consists of sand, silt or clay. In general these substrates are colonized by few invertebrates (Humphries et al. 1998). The principle substratum for biofilm development and macroinvertebrate colonization is large woody debris (Crook and Robertson 1999). Large woody debris supports a more diverse invertebrate community in comparison to other instream sediments (Humphries et al. 1998; Growns et al. 1999) and increases instream habitat complexity (Pusey and Arthington 2003). The presence of LWD influences fish habitat at a number of scales. The number of fish in a river is often related to the quality and heterogeneity of instream habitat (Koehn and O’Connor 1990). The presence and complexity of LWD assists in the creation of scour pools and slackwaters promoting habitat diversity for fish and refuge from flow and predators. Fish communities in streams with a poor diversity of habitat are usually dominated by fish species that are tolerant of a wide variety of habitats. These generalists are most often introduced species (Koehn and O’Connor 1990), which compete with native fish species for food resources. Between 1960 and 1975 "river improvement" works were carried out in the Broken River in an effort to decrease the frequency of flooding. Works undertaken included the construction of levees and removal of LWD. In 2006 work was commenced to re-snag the Broken River. This report builds on the fish data collected during 2006-2008 following the introduction of the LWD.