Carp battle a big win for little fish

A wetlands lagoon in Albury is being pumped dry this week in a significant environmental project aimed at giving native fish a better chance to thrive in their natural habitat.

Norman’s Lagoon at Doctor’s Point is being emptied so that pest European carp that infest the waterway can be removed. The lagoon will undergo rehabilitation works before being refilled via an environmental water allocation.

In 2009, the lagoon was found to contain the last wild populations of endangered southern pygmy perch and flat-headed galaxias in the Murray River.  Since then, these species have disappeared from the lagoon but will be restocked when the remediation is complete.

AlburyCity Mayor Kevin Mack said the project would fulfil a long-held plan to clear the waterway of carp.

“Work started on a process to restore the lagoon in 2015/2016 but flooding in 2016 prevented efforts to remove the carp,” he said.

“Now, we’re joining forces with our partner agencies to complete that task, removing much-loathed carp from the water and rehabilitating surrounding vegetation to minimise the risk of future ‘black water’ events.”

This project is a good example of how the Australian Government is working with local councils and communities to play a part in restoring  an important wetland and habitat for native fish, said Anthony Wilson, Local Engagement Officer with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

“Commonwealth water for the environment will help maintain and enhance an important native fish refuge for when fish are returned to the lagoon. Not only will we see environmental outcomes, but it’s also great to be helping restore a site that can be enjoyed by locals and attract tourists,” he said.

AlburyCity’s Wagirra Team is assisting with draining the lagoon this week, with pumping expected to be completed by Friday.

Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council staff will transfer the carp to Nutra Soil in Wodonga, where they’ll be made into enriched soil, and when NSW Fisheries have confirmed remaining carp eggs in the water are no longer viable, the lagoon will be refilled.

In the meantime, Parklands Albury Wodonga will remove red gum saplings from the bank to reduce the amount of black water-inducing organic matter in the water.