Rivers of Carbon: Yass River Linkages

“Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss.” *

The Yass River is valued by the many people who live by it, go fishing along it, who use its water, and sit on its banks to enjoy the birds and watch the river flow past.  Over the last decade, a lot of work has been done by the Yass community to restore and rehabilitate parts of the river that have become degraded as a result of the negative impacts of vegetation loss and flow regulation.   Rivers of Carbon: Yass River Linkages is a project that supports and extend the efforts of the Yass Area Network of Landcare Groups and others, who are committed to bringing the Yass River ‘back to life’.  The first phase of this project is now complete but we are hoping to receive more funds for a second phase as we still have landholders wishing to do more!

The Yass River Linkages project offers incentives to landholders for fencing, tubestock, direct seeding and alternative water for stock access.  Each site is assessed on a case by case basis through an on-site visit by project staff, and actions tailored to the restoration needs of the site, farm business and landholder vision.  In our first phase we focused on sites with high recovery potential, these are sites that might have already had some work done on them so will respond well to additional investment in weed removal, plants and stabilisation activities.  We also look for sites that are connected to other patches of vegetation, either along the river, or out into the surrounding landscape.  We know how important these patches of vegetation are for wildlife, as well as providing thermal refugia during extreme temperature events.

To date Yass River Linkages has:

  1. 8km of riparian zone in the Yass Valley fenced
  2. Alternative stock water provided to 4 sites
  3. 6500 tubestock and guards allocated
  4. Fish surveys conducted at 5 sites in November 2015
  5. One field day conducted in November 2015 with 60 participants
  6. One morning tea to thank landholders in June 2016 with 10 participants
  7. Three major partners engaged – NSW DPI Fisheries, Yass Area Network of Landcare Groups, Yass Valley Council.
  8. 5 ha of riparian remnant protected (5.3km)
  9. 5 ha of riparian remnant enhanced (4.4km)
  10. 13 ha of riparian zone revegetated (2.15km)
  11. 54 ha of gullies stabilised (0.45km)
  12. 38.1 ha of weed control (co-investment from NSW DPI Fisheries and NSW Crown Lands)

We have felt very privileged to have had the opportunity of a NSW Environmental Trust grant to work on the Yass River.  As we wrap up this phase of our work on the Yass River we are more committed than ever to continue to work with this local community.  The Yass River is changing and we are part of making that happen.  Luke Pearce, our DPI Fisheries expert has noticed enormous changes in the riparian zone condition of the Yass River and these changes have positively impacted on fish populations, with Murray cod, Golden perch and the Southern pygmy perch all present in some river reaches.  This quote from Luke really sums up why we do what we do, and the success of the Rivers of Carbon Yass River Linkages project in contributing to healthy rivers and inspired communities.

“There has been an incredible transformation in some sections of the stream from a willow clogged, stagnant mess, to a stunning looking natural Australian river system, complete with large complex wood debris, fantastic riparian vegetation, pools, riffles, cobble beds,  fringing and submerged aquatic vegetation, ideal habitat for all manner of native fish.”

This quote really encapsulates why we do what we do, and we welcome ongoing opportunities to work with the terrific community in Yass to promote these positive river restoration outcomes.  Other activities we have undertaken as part of our Yass project have links to videos, stories and great photos that we are sure you will enjoy exploring.

Thankyou Morning Tea for Yass District Landholders

Feeling Fishy Field Day

Feeling Fishy on Film

Ngunawal River Connections

Alien fish stopped in their tracks – protecting Southern Pygmy Perch

 

 

 

  • Yass River Fish Bridge

    Yass River at Fish Bridge, Photo by Lori Gould

  • Yass River, Photo by Lori Gould

    Yass River, Photo by Lori Gould

  • Fishing on the Yass River in a stretch of water with plenty of habitat for fish and birds.  Photo by Peter Denison

    Fishing on the Yass River in a stretch of water with plenty of habitat for fish and birds. Photo by Peter Dickens

  • This saline gully is the sort of area that Rivers of Carbon seeks to rehabilitate so that erosion is halted and water prevented from carrying salt into the Yass River. Photo by Lori Gould

    This saline gully is the sort of area that Rivers of Carbon seeks to rehabilitate so that erosion is halted and water prevented from carrying salt into the Yass River. Photo by Lori Gould

  • Forest Creek Gully

    Sheep walking up and down the side of gullies like this one continue to erode away the banks.  Rivers of Carbon works with landholders to fence out these areas and protect them from stock while they regenerate.  Once stable, stock can be released back into the gullies for short grazing spells.  Photo by Lori Gould

  • Craig Slattery (landholder) and Haydn Burgess (GA) chatting about their Rivers of Carbon Yass project (on the Yass River). This site was part of the Yass River Rehab project and was once wall to wall willows. Photo by Lori Gould

    Craig Slattery (landholder) and Haydn Burgess (GA) chatting about their Rivers of Carbon Yass project (on the Yass River). This site was part of the Yass River Rehab project and was once wall to wall willows. Photo by Lori Gould

  • Green Corp members out planting to combat salinity erosion and provide habitat for birds and wildlife. Photo by Lori Gould

    Green Corp members out planting to combat salinity erosion and provide habitat for birds and wildlife. Photo by Lori Gould

  • Green Corp members out planting to combat salinity, erosion, and provide habitat for birds and wildlife. Photo by Lori Gould

    Green Corp member planting trees. Photo by Lori Go

 

RoC Yass project area 2014

RoC Yass project area 2014

We are hoping to get another grant to for Yass River Linkages Phase 2, and expect to hear whether we are successful in May 2017, stay in touch to find out how we go!

On-ground project coordinator:

Our partners:

Yass River linkages  Phase One was funded by the New South Wales Environmental Trust and managed through a partnership between the Australian River Restoration Centre, Yass Area Network of Landcare Groups and Greening Australia

*David Bolling, How to Save a River: Handbook for Citizen Action

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  • ARRC logo
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