Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Birds highlight good lagoon work

The Deniliquin Wetlands Restoration Community Project has restored the balance to the Deniliquin lagoon system.

CASS SAVELLIS July 22, 2014 3:54am

lagoon birds.

Native birds spotted enjoying the bird hide at the McFaull Park lagoon on Friday are a sign of restored balance to the Deniliquin lagoon system.

The Deniliquin Wetlands Restoration Community Project started in 2011.

Four lagoons — from Napier St through to the Bowling Club — were drained, cleaned of carp and rubbish and restocked with locally extinct native fish.

McFaull Park received a revamp with a bird hide, strategically placed wildlife refuges and native plants included.

The project — by Murray Catchment Management Authority (now Murray Local Land Services), Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre and local volunteers — will be rolled out to other areas.

Deniliquin scientist John Conallin, who instigated the project in his former role with the CMA, said ‘‘animal life in general has really increased since the restoration of the McFaull Park lagoon’’.

Currently based in Kenya, Dr Conallin keeps up to date on the local project.

‘‘After the lagoons were drained, the carp and redfin removed and the plants started to grow, we noticed a big increase in small native fish and yabby numbers,’’ he said.

‘‘This has obviously attracted a lot of shags (the black bird pictured), and pied cormorants (black and white bird), who like to eat them.

‘‘The refuge in the middle is the perfect place for the birds to sit, rest, and dry their wings. Every day you will see birds there, and best seen from the bird hide on the island.

‘‘People should also keep an eye out for water rats as they are also common in the McFaull Park lagoon, and love eating tabbies and small fish.

‘‘The water rats use the refuge to take tabbies to and eat them. The last time I was home in the warmer months I also noticed the turtles were back, and they use the refuge for sunning themselves and resting.

‘‘There is lots of information on the island, also accessible to people, and people should go down and enjoy the lagoon and its animals.’’

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