Oral Presentation International Conference on River Connectivity (Fish Passage 2018)

Move it or lose it: restoring movement pathways for fish in freshwater rivers (#12)

Jason Thiem 1
  1. New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Narrandera, NSW

Widespread anthropogenic development has resulted in interruptions to key movement corridors for fish within freshwater ecosystems. This has contributed to numerous global, regional and local declines in both diadromous and potamodromous fish populations. The construction of additional dams, particularly in developing countries, further threatens fish populations. Major advances in engineering and construction techniques have been made over the past few decades, improving our ability to reconnect individual streams and watersheds. Additionally, novel techniques have been developed enabling us to elucidate the causes and consequences of passage success and failure past individual barriers. These include techniques to measure variables such as swimming performance, the application of field physiological tools and the remote measurement of activity rates. However, despite this progress there are very few documented examples of recovery of fish populations or communities in reconnected systems. Watershed-scale planning and cross-jurisdictional collaborations are required to achieve more meaningful outcomes across ecologically relevant scales. A number of regional case studies from south-eastern Australia will be presented that demonstrate the value of restoring movement pathways for both individual species and fish communities.