The health of the upper Murrumbidgee River is being improved thanks to some very special people with an adventurous spirit, a love of paddling and a wish to make a positive difference to our rivers and the biodiversity they sustain. This work will protect the home of our iconic native fish species such as Trout cod, Murray cod and Macquarie perch, as well as Murray River crayfish, Eastern long necked turtles, Water rats (also known as Rakali) and Platypus.

Adventure volunteers having a safety briefing before heading out on to the river.  Photo: Antia Brademann

Stem injecting willows.  Photo Antia Brademann

As part of the Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR) Adventurous Volunteer program over 20 volunteers have already undertaken a two day paddling skills course, run by Paddle NSW, to ensure they have the capacity to undertake their restoration adventures. The training includes basic boating skills, assisted and self-rescue, learning river hydrology and river running, leadership and group procedures, and awareness of common river based risks.

Using their newly polished skills, the volunteers have mapped weed infestations along the river downstream of Scottsdale to the ACT border, including assessing the need for follow up control in project sites which we have already treated. Ongoing maintenance is essential to ensure the long-term effectiveness of weed programs. The mapping has found that Box elder numbers are rapidly expanding, and in some areas is now the predominant weed.

With the mapping complete, the volunteers have been paddling in to work sites to control Willows and Box elders using bush regeneration techniques. In some areas the volunteers are also paddling in bucket loads of native plants to stabilise bare banks and prevent sediment movement and replace biodiversity and native shading vegetation.

This project is being carried out by the UMDR in partnership with the Australian River Restoration Centre and Bush Heritage Australia, with the support of a NSW Department of Primary Industry Fish Habitat Action Grant funded via the NSW Freshwater Recreational Fishing Trust.  Bush Heritage Australia  is supporting the work through its volunteer program at its Scottsdale Reserve, which has 4km of upper Murrumbidgee River frontage, including the Bredbo Gorge where high quality riverine habitat is found.

Dinghy full of trees and volunteers to work at stabilising the river bank.  Photo: Antia Brademann

Paddling past the crayfish crags and enjoying the magnificent scenery.  Photo: Antia Brademann

Long stem tubestock planting into the bank to stabilise.  Photo: Antia Brademann

Take a photo journey down the Bidgee by following this link, and  If this program sounds like your thing, or you just wish to find out more please contact Antia Brademann (UMDR Facilitator) on 0429 778 633 or

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To learn more about our work on the Upper Bidgee, click here.