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Assessment of the Rushy Creek fishway system, south‐western Australia.

Beatty, S., Allen, M. and Keleher, J. (2012) Assessment of the Rushy Creek fishway system, south‐western Australia. Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University

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An initial fish survey of Rushy Creek (a tributary of McLeod Creek in the lower Blackwood River catchment, south‐western Australia) (Figure 1a) had recorded the presence of relatively common south‐west Western Australian endemic fishes including the freshwater Western Minnow (Galaxias occidentalis), Nightfish (Bostockia porosa), Western Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca vittata), the estuarine South‐western Goby (Afurcagobius suppositus) and the introduced Eastern Gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki) (Beatty et al., 2008a). Subsequent to that study, a dam and bypass fishway system was constructed in 2009 on Rushy Creek with details of its design, construction and additional background on the Whicher Plan outlined in Seewraj et al. (in press). The Rushy Creek bypass and spillway fishways were subsequently monitored in August, September and October 2010 in order to assess their effectiveness in allowing upstream and downstream passage of fishes in the system (Seewraj et al. in press).

Seewraj et al. (in press) identified that the fishways were at least partially effective in that they facilitated the passage of the Western Minnow; a species known to use the other rock‐ramp fishways in south‐western Australia (Morgan and Beatty 2004a and b; Morgan and Beatty 2005; Morgan and Beatty 2007a). However, the former study also identified knowledge gaps pertaining to the use of the fishways, including: Are the species that did not readily utilise the fishways moving on mass in the undisturbed channel downstream of the fishway? How much variability in fishway passage occurs between years? Is the southern branch of Rushy Creek upstream of the dam utilised by resident species? Could the monitoring approach be refined to answer these questions? The current study aimed to: assess the functioning of the bypass and spillway fishways on Rushy Creek in 2011 and quantify the spatial and temporal (monthly and interannual) variation in movement patterns and population structure of fishes in the system, determine the flow profiles on the fishways and compare these with upstream passage and known swimming abilities of fishes, and determine the degree of utilisation of the southern branch of Rushy Creek.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Fish Health Unit
Publisher: Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, Murdoch University
Notes: Report to Department of Water, Government of Western Australia, May 2012
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