Short Virtual Presentation & Digital Poster 10th Australian Stream Management Conference 2021

StrikingĀ goldĀ - Thomson River fishway & walking track (Horseshoe Bend) (#30)

David Stork 1 , Glenn Berrill 2 , Ross Hardie 3 , Stuart Cleven 3
  1. West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Traralgon, Victoria, Australia
  2. Thompson Berril Landscape Design, Melbourne
  3. Alluvium Consulting, Melbourne
  • A historic gold mining river diversion tunnel short-circuited 1 km of the Thomson River. The dry riverbed and tunnel hydraulics became a barrier for fish (incl. EPBC listed Australian grayling), blocking access to over 80km of high-value habitat. The tunnel is heritage listed (including the flows through it) and is popular with walkers and sightseers.
  • Extensive community consultation and iterative designs over 9 years resulted in the construction of a 230m long fishway carved out of the river bedrock, and the formation of a grade 3 walking track. The fishway drains water away for the tunnel entrance to re-engage the bypassed river channel. It replicates the natural waterway features and is in keeping with its natural environment, with no imported materials used in construction. The arrangement maintains more than 60% of river flows through the tunnel (demonstrating its engineering function), while providing conditions suitable for fish to navigate past the tunnel exit, and successfully traverse Horseshoe Bend and constructed fishway. The walking track includes signage and river crossings to enable safe access for recreation visitors to not only experience the Horseshoe Bend Tunnel but interact with the running river and surrounding environment.
  • The measured and observed outcomes of migratory fish repopulating upstream, and visitors enjoying the scenic walk and historical tunnel are clear indicators of project success.
  • It is a unique and outstanding project that balances competing objectives, required an innovative fishway design, demonstrates best industry practice, and achieves exceptional environmental and social outcomes.
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