Lauren Veale and I recently undertook autumn monitoring at Piccaninnie Ponds system with Steve Clarke (DEWNR) and a number of volunteers from Friends of Area Parks (Mt Gambier). We were fortunate to have a week of good weather (no wind or rain) and lots of fish were recorded at 15 sites sampled across the system. The survey further assessed the status of fish species across the diverse range of habitats and, specifically, explored areas recently inundated as part of restoration works. We are in the processing of crunching the numbers, but it is evident a number of species are thriving in the system, including southern pygmy perch and common galaxias. In terms of common galaxias – a diadromous species that moves between marine/estuarine and freshwater areas to complete its lifecycle – results were extremely positive. The species has moved into newly inundated areas in the eastern wetland and almost 5000 fish (individuals up to 172mm, which were some of the biggest I have ever seen) were sampled from one site upstream of the fishway at Pick Swamp. Overall, the system continues to maintain an important and diverse fish community, which is expected to further respond to recent restoration work over the coming seasons. Our reporting will summarise these findings and make recommendations to maintain and monitor this important system.
Thanks to Steve Clarke (DEWNR), and volunteers who helped out over the week.