Multi-million dollar fishway project set to restore river balance

12 Oct 2009

Fish will soon be able to migrate up and down the Bowen River with ease, thanks to a $4 million fishway being built on the Bowen River Weir by SunWater.

SunWater Project Manager David Scriven said the multi-million dollar environmental project was being funded by State Government through a re-investment of its SunWater dividend.

Mr Scriven said the fishway was an important project for the Bowen region as it would restore balance back into the Bowen River eco-system.

“The installation of this fishway will ensure normal breeding and feeding cycles continue so that fish stocks and the river’s eco-system have the balance that is needed,” Mr Scriven said.
 
“SunWater has a strong commitment to responsible environmental management so is pleased this fishway project has received the financial support required and will soon be in operation,” he said.

Mr Scriven said SunWater had consulted extensively with the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the fishway achieved all environmental targets.

Mr Scriven said DERM research on fishways currently operating on Queensland rivers showed up to 20 different species regularly used them, including lungfish, yellowbelly, mullet, bass and bream.

“This fishway will work on the same principle as the boat locks used on the Murray River, which lift or lower water levels to enable boats to continue their journey.

“On a similar basis, our fishway will lift or lower a fish chamber so fish can also continue their up or downstream journey,” he said.
 
Mr Scriven said SunWater had successfully installed and operated similar fishways on the Burdekin River in Clare, Ned Churchward Weir on the Kolan River in Bundaberg and Claude Wharton Weir on the Burnett River in Gayndah.

All measures have been taken to ensure there is minimal disruption to water supply during the construction process and work was expected to be finalised by early next year.

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