Trees felled during VicRoads’ operations will now be utilised to create in-stream fish habitats across Victoria as part of a new agreement between government agencies.
Signed by Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford last Monday, the agreement has been welcomed by VRFish, the representative body for recreational fishers.
Last year the group wrote to the Victorian Government seeking support to work collaboratively with VicRoads and other bodies to repair fish habitat and boost fishing opportunities.
VRFish chairman Rob Loats said the group was ‘‘ecstatic’’ to see its idea scaled-up and taking on a statewide approach.
He said the agreement would enable more fish habitat to be installed at less cost, while creating immediate environmental offsets from road infrastructure projects.
‘‘Much of the cost in restoring our large woody fish habitat is locating and buying the wood and then arranging transport to the site,’’ he said.
In-stream habitat provides necessary shelter, food and breeding locations for fish and other aquatic animals but many waterways have suffered from extensive removal of habitat and vegetation from the 1800s until the late 1990s according to Mr Loats.
‘‘Put simply, habitat makes fishing happen,’’ he said.
‘‘We commend VicRoads, the Arthur Rylah Institute, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Catchment Management Authorities and Melbourne Water for coming together to establish this innovative partnership to make our river and fishing better.’’