Lockett's Crossing fish passage restored

Key section on Coolongolook River finally rehabilitated

Industry & Investment NSW says a combined effort to restore local fish habitat has led to the rehabilitation of a key river in the NSW lower North Coast, ensuring the free passage of aquatic life in the area.

Industry & Investment NSW’s conservation management officer Jenny Fredrickson said the Lockett’s Crossing causeway on the Coolongolook River prevented fish from swimming upstream due to a drop on the downstream side (known as a "waterfall effect"), and shallow flow depths across the causeway.

"Fish passage was previously blocked by the Lockett’s Crossing causeway, which will affect species such as Australian bass and mullet that need to move between different types of aquatic habitat to feed and reproduce," said Fredrickson.

"Man-made barriers such as road crossings, weirs and floodgates affect the ability of these fish to complete essential lifecycle processes, but with the successful completion of the fishway, 65 kilometres of habitat has now been opened up to native fish and aquatic life.

"These restoration works now allow fish to swim from the estuary into the upper reaches of the river, which is expected to have a large positive impact on fish numbers in the Coolongolook River."

The project was a partnership with Industry and Investment NSW, Great Lakes Council, Caring for our Country, NSW Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trustm, and Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

Streamline River Restoration, a company specialising in river works, was employed over a three month period to construct the fishway, which consists of a series of low gradient pools and rock ridges. Great Lakes Council also installed a box culvert which provides an opening underneath the causeway.

The completion of these works follows more than 15 years of planning and negotiation to address this priority barrier, as recognised in the Coolongolook Rivercare Plan, Wallis Lakes Estuary Management Plan, and more recently the "Bringing Back the Fish" project.

Visit www.industry.nsw.gov.au for more information.


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