The Macquarie River ‘NatureLinks’ program has been running since 2009 and aims to connect high conservation value riparian remnants and aquatic habitats through protection and improved management, restoration of degraded areas, and actions to help species migrations or life-history movement patterns.
The focus of the NatureLinks program is the area from Macquarie Marshes to Burrendong Dam, a stretch of 400 river km, divided into 40 reaches. The River runs through a mosaic of agriculture, with riparian vegetation ranging from intact to degraded. There are 291 parcels of crown and other forms of public lands, representing about 20 % of the riparian corridor. In addition, there are about 40 nature reserves and other protected areas along the river corridor.
With funds raised by RiverSmart (from Central Western LLS and the Native Fish Strategy of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority), an underwater and riparian condition assessment was completed for the Macquarie River, recording presence of weeds, erosion and stock damage. This data now underpins the development of reach-by-reach action plans to guide landholder and manager actions.
The first step of the project has been improving riparian condition, habitat and connectivity, including plans for the installation of a fishway at South Dubbo Weir. The availability and complexity of snags is another focus of the project, given that the initial survey work determined current snag density (less than 11 snags per kilometre) to be below the accepted benchmark of 13 snags per kilometre.
One of the photopoint sites under the NatureLinks program showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ treatment of Castor Oil Plant, a major riparian weed problem along the mid-part of the Macquarie River.
The map below shows the achievements of the NatureLinks project to date, including over 800 hectares of works, 26 km of stock exclusion fencing, and 17 off-river stock watering points completed. Not shown on the map is the planting of over 20,000 tubestock plants on these properties, due to be completed by the end of May.
For further information, contact Bill Phillips – firstname.lastname@example.org