Recycled timber creates new reel estate for fish

Fish populations in the Barwon River through Geelong have new underwater habitat thanks to the creative repurposing of timber saved from road construction projects.

A dozen root-balls, or snags as they are commonly called by recreational fishers, were taken from the base of native hardwood trees and anchored to the riverbed downstream of Breakwater Bridge last week.

The snags will provide extra habitat for native fish, including the 122,000 Estuary Perch released by the Victorian Fisheries Authority in the Barwon River over the last two years, and the threatened Australian Grayling. Fish use snags as a place to feed, rest and hide from predators.

The timber re-use program is thanks to a landmark agreement signed in May 2019 between the state’s waterways, roads and fisheries authorities for repurposing timber felled during road projects throughout Victoria.

Most of the root-balls are from trees removed by Major Road Projects Victoria as part of the Yan Yean Road upgrade in Plenty. The rest have been sourced from Regional Road Projects Victoria’s upgrade of the Forrest-Apollo Bay Road near Skenes Creek. Scientists from the Victorian Government’s Arthur Rylah Institute helped the Corangamite CMA select the best location for each root-ball.

Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens said the timber re-use program was a boon for the Geelong community and would improve the health of native fish in the Barwon River.

“Reusing trees from road projects is good for conservation, good for healthy waterways and good for recreational fishing.” – Christine Couzens MP