Bring the Onkaparinga River back to life

Gone fishin': OzFish Unlimited members Blan Rai and Craig Dilger both love fishing in the Onkaparinga River and fully support the work OzFish is undertaking. Both of them realise that keeping the river stocked and sustainable is key to it's health. Photo: Harrison Schultz.
Gone fishin': OzFish Unlimited members Blan Rai and Craig Dilger both love fishing in the Onkaparinga River and fully support the work OzFish is undertaking. Both of them realise that keeping the river stocked and sustainable is key to it's health. Photo: Harrison Schultz.

Around Australia a not-for-profit group named Ozfish Unlimited have set their sights on restoring the health of waterway ecosystems, most recently they decided it was time to breath life back into the Onkaparinga River.

In 2017 the group identified that the river was in need of help, human colonisation around the area had damaged the ecosystem; erosion, sedimentation, pollution and the clearing of trees had harmed the river.

To combat this, Ozfish Unlimited along with local businesses, Recfish SA and the City of Onkaparinga installed limestone blocks into the river, the first move to helping the river recover.

Public officer of the Ozfish Unlimited Onkaparinga Chapter, Dr. Travis Howson said that the limestone blocks are a key element for getting more shellfish into the area, shellfish filter the water which can then lead to water quality improvement and supply a food source for some fish.

Now, in 2018 Ozfish Unlimited have successfully acquired a $2,150 environmental grant from the City of Onkaparinga, this funding will go towards a community workshop and building underwater camera systems for the limestone blocks, allowing them constantly monitor ecosystem changes.

“We’re currently working on a prototype, we’ve had a few issues around waterproofing but we’re not far off now,” said Dr. Howson.

The Ozfish project is also about conducting restoration projects like planting trees near rivers and educating different groups.

“Anglers can do more to become the stewards of the environment,” he said.

For the 2018/19 period, the City of Onkaparinga handed out 16 separate environmental grants.

City of Onkaparinga environmental sustainability projects officer, Tracy Fulton said the environmental grants are great way for the council to foster environmental leadership within the community.

“It's a great way to get projects off the ground which the council cannot do, Ozfish was one of these.”

Follow OzFish Onkaparinga, SA Chapter on Facebook