South West conservation group Leschenault Catchment Council working to restore habitat in Collie River

Craig DuncanBunbury Herald
The banks of the Collie River are set to be teeming with life above and below the surface of the water.
Camera IconThe banks of the Collie River are set to be teeming with life above and below the surface of the water. Credit: Supplied LCC

The southern branches of the Collie River have been found to be sparsely populated by the fish and crustaceans which historically roamed the river in abundance.

As part of a plan to rectify the situation, the Leschenault Catchment Council is now working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Healthy Rivers team to begin restoring the aquatic habitat.

The LCC and DWER secured $49,750 in funding from a 2023 State NRM Community Stewardship grant, which will be used to revitalise habitat in the waterway.

South32 will contribute a significant amount to the project through a three-year community partnership supporting the LCC’s Danju-Jobs Together Program and provide $90,000 towards costs, including engaging the Danju Aboriginal Field Crew in on-ground works.

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Taking lessons from the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce, which last month deployed nine new fish hotels in the Harvey River, the LCC aims to establish similar restoration sites in the Collie River’s southern branch.

It will take a similar approach, creating in-stream habitat by using woody debris and logs to replicate a natural system alongside the installation of fish hotels.

Once established, the new habitat will provide a home for native fish currently hard to find in the waterway, from western minnow to cobbler, nightfish and the threatened Carter’s freshwater mussel.

The Collie community will have opportunities throughout the project to learn about the natural and cultural values of the river and help engage in restorative actions.

Biodiversity program manager Katrina Zeehandelaar-Adams said it was a fantastic opportunity for the community to understand the importance of healthy waterways and the role they play in sustaining local ecosystems.

“By restoring native habitat for our aquatic friends, we are enhancing the vitality of the Collie River,” she said.

Accompanying the restoration, a Collie River Stories video will document Aboriginal and European stories about the river’s revival.

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