Recreational fishers have reached a milestone of planting 10,000 native trees along the Wambuul Macquarie River at Dubbo - restoring a healthy habit for fish, wildlife, and local communities.
OzFish, Australia's recreational fishing charity, and Landcare are working together on a number of projects to increase the scale of their habitat restoration across NSW.
The Wambuul Macquarie River catchment is a key part of the Murray-Darling Basin and is representative of the many challenges faced across the wider Basin. The beleaguered waterways in the region have endured significant degradation over a prolonged period, including the recent worst drought on record.
The native trees and shrubs the OzFish Inland Waterways Chapter and Dubbo Rivercare are returning to the area will help to stabilise the riverbanks, protecting them from erosion and future natural disasters, and also provide valuable shade and food for native fish in the river.
Braeden Lampard, OzFish Program Manager, believes the collaborative way of working delivers wide ranging environmental and societal benefits.
"We are working together to build a healthy ecosystem around and in the water, and support native fish numbers. We know that by providing food and habitat native fish will come back," said Braeden.
Popular species with anglers in the area include Murray cod and golden perch (a.k.a. yellowbelly) and it is also home to endangered species such as silver perch, freshwater catfish and trout cod.
"There is still a long way to go when addressing challenges faced in the Murray-Darling Basin, but steady progress is being made.
"We see that we are building social outcomes as well because we are creating capacity within community groups to identify, plan and deliver more of these fish habitat projects," said Braeden.
The 10,000th tree was one of 2,500 planted by OzFish and local Landcare group Dubbo Rivercare, as well as other community groups and schools, across 2.5 hectares of land owned by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The first of those trees was planted around a decade ago by a group of recreational fishers known as the Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association (IWRA). The IWRA joined OzFish and the good work started years ago has been scaled-up.
This includes its innovative River Repair Bus - a vehicle dedicated to taking OzFish volunteers where they need to be to restore vital waterways across the Wambuul Macquarie catchment, and work on restoring and repairing the river most days of the week.
Supported by funding from the federal government's Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program and the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust, this project is a great example of what like-minded organisations and people can achieve by working towards a shared objective.
Like all OzFish projects across Australia, it is supported by Boating, Camping and Fishing - BCF.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.