2010 Banksia Water Award
Industry and Investment NSW
In partnership with Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Bringing Back the Fish (BBTF) was a river health initiative restoring fish passage and key habitats along the length of the NSW coast. Water quality and flow and native fish stocks have been decimated by the construction of over 10,000 barriers such as weirs, causeways and floodgates.
BBTF was the largest fish passage program of its kind in Australia. It built government and community partnerships to open up over 1,200 kilometres of habitat for migrating fish though rehabilitating nearly 100 sites. The project introduced innovations in site assessment, prioritisation and collaboration, as well as in the design and construction of specialised structures for fish passage.
Through partnerships with local councils, Catchment Management Authorities and local community groups, BBTF has removed redundant weirs, fixed causeways and road crossings, upgraded floodgates, reduced damage to seagrass, replanted riverbank and wetland vegetation and built fishways. BBTF was a 3 year, Federally funded project.
Comments from the Judges
“The comprehensive monitoring illustrated to the judges how this program had clear objectives and a systematic approach. Furthermore, its success is clearly attributable to the breadth of stakeholder support, commitment and involvement. It is a clear example how the sum of different local community action can have a magnified impact.”