Fishway on the way

WIDE Bay Water Corporation has set aside $3.2 million to build a new fishway on the Burrum River’s No. 1 dam within three years.

WBWC acting chief executive Peter Care said the board had allocated the funds to ensure that construction of the fishway was completed before the end of the 2012-13 financial year.

He said consultant GHD was investigating, planning and preparing the concept design of the fishway to be built on Burrum one weir in Howard.

“We are committed to improving the health of our waterways and our environment department is working closely with stakeholders to ensure a beneficial outcome for fish stocks and habitats,” Mr Care said.

He said the benefits included improving, or allowing, adult fish - particularly Australian bass and barramundi that lived in the freshwater reaches of the Burrum system but moved into the saltwater to breed - access to and from spawning habitats, the dispersal of juvenile fish such as barramundi and mullet to new habitats, access to feeding habitats, the re-colonisation of habitats and access to and from refuge areas during droughts or floods.

Mr Care said WBWC met with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation on July 27 to discuss the design process and fishway options and held a workshop on August 27 with DEEDI and GHD to refine the design criteria.

“After this meeting we provided additional information, such as historic flow levels over weir one, to GHD to help finalise the design criteria,” he said.

“In particular, the operating range for the fishway needed to be agreed with DEEDI.

“The level data is being analysed now by GHD and the next discussion with DEEDI is planned for mid-October.”

Mr Care said once the design criteria was agreed on, GHD would evaluate concepts to meet that criteria and develop design sketches.

“Our objective will then be to sign off on the concept so that GHD can prepare the concept design report followed by detailed design and construction,” he said.

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