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Fish funding for the 'Bidgee

Published 24 Mar 2021 by Antia Brademann

I’m very pleased to report that the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR) has been successful in securing $300,000 in funding to improve habitat for native fish species in the upper Murrumbidgee River!

This is huge news for this vital 320km stretch of river on Ngarigo and Ngunnawal country, which rises in the Snowy Mountains, snakes through the Monaro high plain around the flanks of Bush Heritage’s Scottsdale Reserve and onto Canberra.

The ‘Bidgee’ is home to several nationally listed threatened species including Trout Cod, Murray Cod and Macquarie Perch, as well as Platypus, Rakali (native water rat) and Eastern Long-necked Turtles. As the UMDR Facilitator, I couldn’t be happier to see this money directed to one of our most precious ecosystems.

Not only do our rivers connect the whole landscape and the community, but they are essential for life – our own and native species!

The $2.16 million funding was announced by the Commonwealth Government last week as part of a $5 million commitment to the Native Fish Recovery Strategy. The strategy, which looks to 2050, was developed by Basin governments, community, Traditional Owners, recreational fishers and scientists after the 2018-2019 mass fish deaths event in the Menindee Lakes.

The recently announced funding will be split between four key areas in the Murray Darling Basin - the upper Murrumbidgee, the Mid-Murray Floodplains, the Lower Darling and the Condamine Headwaters. More info on the native fish strategy can be found here.

Our segment of funding will support a number of key conservation actions on the upper Bidgee, including improving instream habitat, mapping fish habitat, controlling invasive weeds like Willows and Blackberries, revegetating riverbanks, shoring up erosion sites and running capacity building workshops.

It will be supported by our longstanding and popular Adventurous Volunteers program and celebrated each year with an annual native fish showcase. All these efforts will go a long way towards building a healthier and more resilient river system. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Bush Heritage has been a UMDR partner since 2010, alongside the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the Australian River Restoration Centre, NSW DPI Fisheries, University of Canberra, Local Land Services, the ACT Government and Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch.

Adventurous Volunteers at Scottsdale with me on the right. Photo by Amelia Caddy. Adventurous Volunteers at Scottsdale with me on the right. Photo by Amelia Caddy.

The beautiful ‘Bidgee from a vantage point at Scottsdale. Photo by Matt Appleby

Juvenile Cod, a species protected in the upper Murrumbidgee. Photo by Peter Saunders

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Adventurous volunteers on the Murrumbidgee River. Photo Rohan Thomson/Pew Pew Studio.

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