Lauren and I braved the elements of wind, rain and hail and enjoyed the brief spells of sunlight whilst conducting the first fish survey of Long Swamp in over 10 years. We sampled a number of locations, including Lake Monibeong, the Eel Creek and Noble Rocks outlets, and a range of permanent swamp habitat.
In total, we collected over 5,000 fish from 13 different species. Some of the species collected rely wholly on freshwater habitats, including the nationally vulnerable Yarra Pygmy Perch and Dwarf Galaxias as well as Southern Pygmy Perch and River Blackfish. Also, migratory species, those that require connection between the ocean and freshwater habitats to complete their lifecycle, were recorded (Shortfinned Eel, Common Galaxias and Tupong). Only one introduced species, Gambusia, was observed and then only in small numbers, but their presence should not be disregarded. Frogs (Striped Marsh Frog, Brown Tree Frog) and freshwater crayfish (Common Yabby and Swamp Yabby) were also observed.
So what did the fish survey achieve? Well, it helped to catalogue the ecological assets present in the swamp and provide baseline information to assist with the management of this important wetland system. A summary of fish species of Long Swamp will be made available shortly.
A special thanks to Dave Ryan, Paul and Shane (Parks Victoria), Jim Ewing and volunteers from the Nelson Coastcare Group (including Leila) for help over the week of sampling!