CONSERVING AND REINTRODUCING THREATENED NATIVE SPECIES TO THE LOWER LAKES
The Lower Lakes region harbours a diverse and unique native fish community. Yet, as the recent millennium drought intensified (over 2007 to 2010), significantly diminished freshwater inflows and critical water shortages placed these regions on the verge of ecological collapse. Over this period, broad-scale loss and drying of aquatic habitats and a number of freshwater specialists (such as Yarra pygmy perch) were at the risk of localised extirpation around the Lower Lakes. In response, wide-ranging conservation actions were instigated to prevent the loss of threatened small-bodied fish; namely southern purple-spotted gudgeon, Yarra pygmy perch, southern pygmy perch and Murray hardyhead around the Lower lakes. These actions undoubtedly helped to conserve freshwater fish populations and ensured a supply of individuals for reintroduction upon the return of favourable conditions. The success of these actions could not have been achieved without the formation of cross-agency collaborations, particularly between Aquasave – NGT, Arkellah Hall, Adam Watt, Adrienne Frears, Kate Mason (DEWNR), Chris Bice (SARDI) and Scotte Wedderburn (Adelaide University).