Fishways, also known as fish ladders or fish passes, are becoming increasingly important for water authorities to restore balance to the ecology of our waterways and the fish that live in them.
The construction of artificial controlling structures, like weirs and dams, over previous decades, has meant many species of fish literally hit a wall when they respond to their instinct to migrate upstream to spawn, feed and take refuge. Migrations are also critical to ensure fish are dispersed to maintain genetic diversity.
To respond to this environmental challenge, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is removing and upgrading some of their existing structures to make them suitable for fish passage.
Ventia’s Environmental Services team has recently overseen the installation of two fishways – one at Darlots Creek near Homerton, and the other at Glenelg River near Sandford, both in western Victoria.
The aim of the works is twofold: to open the reach of the Glenelg River and Darlots Creek to native fish, as well as enabling low flow measurements to be undertaken for water resource management purposes.
Ventia project managed the works, partnering closely with a leading fishway designer and a specialist construction team, and accommodating key stakeholders that include Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority, DELWP, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Aboriginal Victorians and Southern Rural Water.
The scope of the project included the rebuild of existing rock ramps to make them more suitable for fish migration, as well as removal of damaged weir structures and their replacement. To complete these works vegetation clearance, cofferdam construction, excavation, rock installation and site restoration were required.
Approximately 28 fish and eel species will be positively impacted by the fishways at both locations.
Ventia is proud to be part of environmental remediation projects that help rebalance our waterways and ensure the ongoing health of our environment – making infrastructure work for our community – and for generations to come.