Saltmarsh fisheries habitat restoration in Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon

Saltmarsh is important fish habitat for recreationally valuable fish species.

This project will work to restore essential fish habitat that live in the saltmarshes of the Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon Ramsar site. NRM South is working with project partners and landholders to restore saltmarsh habitat in Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon and works are designed to restore natural flows and provide protection to modified saltmarsh habitat. Project activities include;

– Removing 2 levees adjacent to selected saltmarsh communities

– Fencing saltmarsh to protect from livestock trampling and nutrient inputs

– Restoring previously cleared woody vegetation and native grasses, providing buffer plantings for the saltmarsh microclimate from agricultural activities

– Engaging and involving the local recreational fishing community in on-ground works and monitoring activities to build the capacity of recreational fishers to participate in fish habitat stewardship

– Assessing populations of recreationally important fish species and their habitat before and following restoration activities and identify future engagement and management opportunities

This project will address the following threats;

  • Stock trampling and browsing of saltmarsh communities (reduces the extent and diversity of saltmarsh)
  • Modified hydrological flows from levees and bunds (reduces inundation to saltmarsh and restricts fish access to saltmarsh habitat)
  • The lack of vegetation buffering saltmarsh communities modifies microclimate and increases the potential for weed incursion and runoff of excess nutrients and sediments from surrounding agricultural areas into saltmarsh communities
  • Resource utilization – current and potential changes to land and water management practices
  • Extraction of fish stocks through fishing activities