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The future of native fish in the Gunbower and lower Loddon systems has never been better with the injection of $7.1 million funding from the Victorian Government's 2020 Building Works capital (COVID -19) stimulus package.

The North Central CMA has received the funding to undertake improvements to fish passage within the systems. These improvements, through the Native Fish Stimulus project, will largely see the upgrade or construction of fishways and fish screens allowing the movement and protection of native fish within the systems. 

The package of works area a key part of the North Central CMA’s Native Fish Recovery Plan to recover native fish populations and establish a world-class fishery in northern Victoria. The completed works will also contribute to the region’s recreational and social values as recreational fishing contributes $304 million annually to the regional economy in north western Victoria.

It is estimated that native fish populations have decreased by 90% across the Murray Darling Basin since early European settlement. Many factors have contributed to this decline including lack of connectivity; removal of habitat; altered flows and entrainment into irrigation channels and pumps:

Works are already underway at various sites across the Gunbower and lower Loddon. The works will be timed so there is no impact to the delivery of water for irrigators. The fishways will operate using the existing water allocations, making every drop count twice.

North Central CMA will manage the environmental and cultural heritage approvals for the proposed works. GMW will be responsible for the detailed design and construction of the fishways and fish screen with technical support from the North Central CMA.

To read more, including location of project sites and detail regarding what's planned and progress at each site, click links to the left.