The ‘Targeted improvement of the Georges River food web’ project funded by NSW DPI has so far been a success! As part of the project, the species, Sporobolus virginicus which inhabits upper saltmarsh areas is being planted on degraded shorelines throughout the Georges River estuary. As these plants start to establish they will help to provide habitat and a food source for native fish as highlighted in a number of peer reviewed studies.
With the help of 81 volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia, approximately 6,000 of the 9,000 plants have been successfully installed at four sites throughout the estuary. These include Little Saltpan Creek in Padstow, Tonbridge Creek in Ramsgate, Chipping Norton Lake north in Fairfield and Chipping Norton Lake south in Liverpool. These sites have all experienced some level of human disturbance as developments have proceeded throughout the catchment, reducing the availability of saltmarsh vegetation in these areas. Planting Sporobolus virginicus where it has become absent will help provide an important habitat and food source for a number of fish species. Georges Riverkeeper would like to extend a thank you to all the volunteers that helped install these important plants in the sometimes muddy, rainy and stinky conditions!
Due to the specific habitat requirements of Sporobolus virginicus, it is important to track where the planted individuals are doing the best. Monitoring the success of plantings is currently being undertaken with the aid of University of Newcastle Honours student Beth Millsteed. Early indications suggest the majority of Sporobolus virginicus seedlings have been planted in appropriate areas. Beth will continue to monitor the plantings for several months; her results will allow Georges Riverkeeper to develop new fish habitat programs into the future.
There are only two sites that remain to be planted in the catchment, and the planting at the end of November at Oyster Bay in Sutherland Shire is already booked out. However, if you'd like to be involved, Conservation Volunteers Australia is looking for volunteers for the planting in early December at Connells Point. For details and to book go to: https://bookings.conservationvolunteers.org/project/fishy-business-at-poulton-creek