Ready, set, deploy: Scottsdale’s hi-tech acoustic fish tracking array is now installed

Published 16 Nov 2014 
about  Scottsdale Reserve  
Ready, set, deploy! Receiver deployment crew installing a fish monitoring reciever in the Upper Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve.<br/> Ready, set, deploy! Receiver deployment crew installing a fish monitoring reciever in the Upper Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve.
This bouy holds the receiver in place at 'Bolt cutters bend' (named after the pair of bolt cutters now sitting at the bottom of this 6m deep pool).<br/> This bouy holds the receiver in place at 'Bolt cutters bend' (named after the pair of bolt cutters now sitting at the bottom of this 6m deep pool).
The Upper Murrumbidgee River adjoining Scottsdale Reserve contains Bredbo Gorge, which is the known habitat for several threatened fish species.<br/> The Upper Murrumbidgee River adjoining Scottsdale Reserve contains Bredbo Gorge, which is the known habitat for several threatened fish species.
Murray cod (a threatened species) found at Scottsdale Reserve during NSW DPI fish surveys - this one's a little smaller than the monster that also lives there (see blog 10 Aug).<br/> Murray cod (a threatened species) found at Scottsdale Reserve during NSW DPI fish surveys - this one's a little smaller than the monster that also lives there (see blog 10 Aug).
Negotiating the river included portaging the Bredbo Falls, equipment and all.  Thanks to a specially designed rig in the raft, which carried our equipment and the skills of the river guide, this portage was safely completed with all our gear intact.<br/> Negotiating the river included portaging the Bredbo Falls, equipment and all. Thanks to a specially designed rig in the raft, which carried our equipment and the skills of the river guide, this portage was safely completed with all our gear intact.
Receivers were deployed thanks to our dedicated crew members working out of the raft on the river to prepare each receiver set up.<br/> Receivers were deployed thanks to our dedicated crew members working out of the raft on the river to prepare each receiver set up.
The receiver set up features an anchor (length of railway iron) and bouy, which holds the receiver in place underwater to pick up signals as tagged fish swim by.<br/> The receiver set up features an anchor (length of railway iron) and bouy, which holds the receiver in place underwater to pick up signals as tagged fish swim by.

A series of acoustic telemetry receivers have now been deployed in a 20km stretch of the Upper Murrumbidgee River, centered around Bush Heritage Australia’s Scottsdale Reserve. This hi-tech fish monitoring equipment will be used to track both carp and native fish to provide important (and currently unknown) information on fish movement in the Murrumbidgee River. It's a collaborative project between Bush Heritage Australia, the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach, NSW DPI, the Capital Region Fishing Alliance, the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust and Prue McGuffie’s PhD Macquarie perch project.

How it works

The receivers pick-up and record acoustic signals emitted from fish fitted with electronic, signal-emitting tags as they move up and down the Upper Murrumbidgee River system. Over time this will provide insights into patterns of fish movements within the receiver area, which happens to include a four meter waterfall!

The findings of the movement study will be used to guide the ongoing implementation of Scottsdale Reserve’s carp management program, which aims to remove carp from the Upper Murrumbidgee River in order to benefit the threatened fish species (such as Murray Cod and Trout Cod) that are found there.

Knowing how carp move and interact with other species will help us to pin-point the best times and areas for removal of carp from the system.

Not only will this help to make the Scottsdale Reserve program more targeted and effective, but it's also a demonstration of how science can be used to support reserve management and vice-versa.

The receiver ‘array’ was put in thanks to the help two Bush Heritage Australia volunteers (who each put in a long day of paddling) and a local river guide who adapted his raft especially to carry the receiver equipment, which included up to six lengths of railway iron needed to anchor down the receivers in stream.

As the waterfall photo shows, negotiating the river with such a load is no mean feat, but all involved certainly stepped up to the challenge!

This bouy holds the receiver in place at 'Bolt cutters bend' (named after the pair of bolt cutters now sitting at the bottom of this 6m deep pool).<br/> This bouy holds the receiver in place at 'Bolt cutters bend' (named after the pair of bolt cutters now sitting at the bottom of this 6m deep pool).
The Upper Murrumbidgee River adjoining Scottsdale Reserve contains Bredbo Gorge, which is the known habitat for several threatened fish species.<br/> The Upper Murrumbidgee River adjoining Scottsdale Reserve contains Bredbo Gorge, which is the known habitat for several threatened fish species.
Murray cod (a threatened species) found at Scottsdale Reserve during NSW DPI fish surveys - this one's a little smaller than the monster that also lives there (see blog 10 Aug).<br/> Murray cod (a threatened species) found at Scottsdale Reserve during NSW DPI fish surveys - this one's a little smaller than the monster that also lives there (see blog 10 Aug).
Negotiating the river included portaging the Bredbo Falls, equipment and all.  Thanks to a specially designed rig in the raft, which carried our equipment and the skills of the river guide, this portage was safely completed with all our gear intact.<br/> Negotiating the river included portaging the Bredbo Falls, equipment and all. Thanks to a specially designed rig in the raft, which carried our equipment and the skills of the river guide, this portage was safely completed with all our gear intact.
Receivers were deployed thanks to our dedicated crew members working out of the raft on the river to prepare each receiver set up.<br/> Receivers were deployed thanks to our dedicated crew members working out of the raft on the river to prepare each receiver set up.
The receiver set up features an anchor (length of railway iron) and bouy, which holds the receiver in place underwater to pick up signals as tagged fish swim by.<br/> The receiver set up features an anchor (length of railway iron) and bouy, which holds the receiver in place underwater to pick up signals as tagged fish swim by.