Healthy fisheries need healthy habitat – that was the message at the East Gippsland Fish Habitat Forums held at the Marlo and Nicholson Angling Clubs last week.

Organised by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (the EGCMA), the forums were a good opportunity to discuss the state of the regions fisheries and have a yak with mates. Fishing legend ‘Bushy’ Busch fielded questions about local fish including Estuary Perch and Bass, discussed the benefits of catch and release and talked techniques specific to fishing the waterways of East Gippsland.

EGCMA CEO Graeme Dear was on hand to kick off the Angler River Health Grants with a total of $50,000 available to angling clubs who want to get involved with improving a patch of river in East Gippsland. The grants will give local angling groups the ability to work directly with the EGCMA on the river banks and surrounds that are important to them.

“Angling clubs are amongst the most active users of our waterways; they have completed fencing and revegetation projects in the past, been involved in water quality monitoring and in running kids education days” said Mr Dear. “Having people who love their rivers and fish is an advantage for us. By working together we can improve river health and ultimately get better fishing.”

Angler River Health Grants are an initiative of the Water Plan for Victoria and also compliment the State Government’s commitment to delivering its $46 million Target One Million plan for recreational fishing, which aims to grow participation to one million anglers by 2020.

Do you want to know more about the Red Gum Plains? Interested in checking out the wildflowers of East Gippsland? Want to get out and discover some of the critters that live in our corner of the world?

The East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority would like to invite you on a tour around the Red Gum Plains on Wednesday 1st November. Together with Greening Australia, Trust For Nature, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Vic, Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Network and DELWP, we’ll visit the sites of a number of projects funded by the State and Federal Governments.

You will hear about their cultural history, flora and ecological significance.

Our buses will tour properties in Skull Creek and Bengworden before stopping for a picnic lunch at Wattle Point. The afternoon will include a visit to an area of remnant forest protected under a Trust for Nature covenant in Forge Creek. We’ll be on the look-out for the endangered clustered everlasting, bluegrass lily and sun orchid and hope to spot a few feathered friends along the way too.

This is a free event with buses departing from the DELWP building, 576 Main Street, Bairnsdale at 9am and returning by 3pm. Lunch is provided and participants should bring walking shoes, hat, sun glasses, sun screen, and water.

Please note that numbers are limited and the event is subject to weather conditions.

There was movement aplenty on the Snowy River last week with the release of a significant environmental flow from the Jindabyne Dam. The equivalent of 3,200 olympic swimming pools of water was released in a single day.

Close to the NSW border, McKillops Bridge became temporary home to rafts, canoes and kayaks as paddlers keen for adventure navigated the river and it’s rapids downstream to where the Buchan river joins the Snowy.

The local wildlife was also out in force with platypus foraging, water dragons basking in the sun and birds of prey kept busy feeding their young.

Further downstream, scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI) spent the week monitoring nutrient levels flowing down the river. The project, administered by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) and funded by the Victorian State Government, is looking to determine what positive effect the nutrients are having on the wetlands and estuary.

Dan Stoessel from ARI said “If the nutrients are not coming down at the appropriate time then you don’t get all of the ongoing benefits for the fish so it’s important that these events occur, especially in the Spring.”

Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA said,  “The Water Plan for Victoria provides for long term investment in waterway health that also improves the recreational value of our rivers for people like last weeks kayakers.”

Looking for an oarsome way to keep busy in October? Well then come and support the only rowing regatta to be held in Eastern Victoria, on one of the country’s premiere waterways – our own Mitchell River!

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We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.