Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Northeast Victoria bushfire recovery monitoring (#147)

Jason Lieschke 1 , Andrew Briggs 2 , Shea Bloom 3
  1. Arthur Rylah Institute, HEIDELBERG, VIC, Australia
  2. North East Catchment Management Authority, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
  3. Towong shire, Towong, Victoria, Australia

The black summer bushfires ravaged across New South Wales and Victoria in late 2019 and early 2020. Within northeast Victoria, the Cudgewa Creek, Nariel Creek and Thowgla Creek catchments were impacted with the fire front hitting the catchments on 29th December 2019. A large rainfall event occurred on 20th January 2020, which resulted in mass amounts of sediments and ash entering the streams. Subsequently fish kills occurred. The fish killed ranged from large Murray cod to exotic Carp, as well as smaller (unidentified) species. This presentation will look at the community response to aid the recovery of the fish community such as riparian fencing, weed control, instream habitat erosion and control, revegetation and cultural heritage assessments. The presentation will then document the results from initial surveys post fire (February 2020) as well as follow up surveys in November 2020, April 2021 and April 2022. It will highlight the recovery of Murray cod (and Platypus) in the Cudgewa Creek as well as the mixed recovery of trout in the Nariel and Thowgla creeks. It will also highlight some interesting responses by Two-spined blackfish and Climbing galaxias (a native not endemic to the upper Murray system) within Nariel Creek.