Enhanced Methodology, Accurate Advice

The Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is responsible for creating a healthier and more sustainable environment and works in partnership with Biosis and other organisations and stakeholders to protect and enhance the region’s natural resources.

With statutory functions under the Water Act 1999 and the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the Wimmera CMA requires the expertise, experience, quality and professionalism of a suitable partner.

Biosis began work with Wimmera CMA in 2012, undertaking monitoring of fish populations for various programs including the Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program (VEFMAP) for the Lower Wimmera River.

Working to established methodologies and refining and enhancing where appropriate, Biosis also established baseline fish data to assist future environmental flows management in Burnt Creek and the lower Mackenzie River. Biosis also sought to verify the presence of a River Blackfish population in Burnt Creek; as anecdotal evidence exists that the system historically supported good populations.

Biosis also assessed the size and spread of the carp population in the mid-section of the Mackenzie River, a section of the river containing the most intact indigenous fish communities in the Wimmera River system; where carp had not previously been known to occur. The pest species was found to be widely distributed and highly abundant; with incursion likely to have been facilitated by the January 2011 flood.

Biosis also established a baseline data set of the fish community in the upper reaches of Mount William Creek, where existing data was lacking and provided objective information about threats introduced species pose to indigenous native species. Interesting finds included an individual Southern Shortfin Eel, a rare find in the closed Wimmera River system given Eels breed in marine habitats; and a population of the endangered Western Crayfish Geocharax falcata.

Drawing on their extensive experience in aquatic ecology, the Biosis team demonstrated leading aquatic fauna survey techniques to meet the needs of the Wimmera CMA. While most work was undertaken using standard methodologies based on Sustainable Rivers Audit fish sampling protocols, modifications were required including the use of fyke netting, overnight bait trapping and additional electrofishing effort for carp monitoring. A series of other refinements and recommendations were made to maximise sampling efficiency and improve the consistency of future surveys while maintaining data compatibility with previous surveys.

Biosis has a wealth of expertise in undertaking fish surveys, particularly those targeted towards capture of threatened species. With the assistance of a senior fisheries scientist from Fisheries Victoria, Biosis provides Wimmera CMA with increased fish monitoring expertise and experience.

Land and water, know where you stand with Biosis.