About the project
Australian native fish migrate along our rivers to spawn, find food and shelter, as well as to avoid threats such as drying habitats. The Barwon-Darling and Border Rivers are the main fish migration pathway in Northern Basin.
Fish for the Future: Reconnecting the Northern Basin project seeks to improve connectivity across the northern Basin and deliver ecological outcomes by reinstating the movement and abundance of migratory native fish species.
This major infrastructure program aims to address barriers to fish passage at priority sites across the northern Basin, providing a connected ‘highway’ for native fish to migrate. Infrastructure solutions aiding fish migration will primarily be focussed on the construction of fishways.
The project is being delivered using a staged approach, with project development activities occurring in parallel with some early on-ground works.
Stage one will occur in mid-2023 with a submission of Milestone 3 to the Australian Government on the strategic options. The project is funded by the Australian Government and is being delivered by Water Infrastructure NSW in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries.
The Australian Government has provided $56.8 million to fund the project.
The project will generate significant benefits, including:
- increased movement of native fish species across the northern NSW Murray Darling Basin
- increased abundance of native fish species in the system
- enhanced cultural values for First Nations communities (native fish are an important part of First Nations cultures in the region)
- support for regional economies and the creation of local job opportunities during construction
- increased regional tourism opportunities as native fish populations increase
- sustained management of agricultural and water resources with reduced ecological impact.
The proposed works will provide access to more than 2000 km of aquatic habitat in the Barwon-Darling and Border Rivers (Macintyre and Dumaresq).