River Corridors and Wetlands

The Murrumbidgee, Molonglo and Cotter rivers, and their major tributaries, are important aquatic and riparian ecosystems in the ACT. The ACT also has a number of natural and man-made wetlands and water bodies that provide important habitat. Examples include the sub-Alpine bog systems in Namadgi National Park, the man-made Jerrabomberra Wetlands and the three major urban lakes, Lake Tuggeranong, Lake Burley Griffin and Lake Ginninderra.

These rivers and wetlands provide important environmental and social benefits including: biodiversity; natural habitat and wildlife connectivity; human nutrition (water and food supply); cultural heritage; recreation and aesthetics.

Priorities are:

  • improving connectivity and wildlife corridors
  • restoring riparian habitat (ie terrestrial areas adjacent to streams and water bodies)
  • supporting recovery of threatened species in riparian areas (including in-stream)

The Molonglo Catchment Group and ACT Parks and Conservation Service are revegetating previously cleared areas along the Lower Molonglo. More than 200 hectares have been replanted with over 20,000 trees and shrubs.

The project aims to enhance the extent and condition of native vegetation in this degraded area to retain its ecological values by:

  • Improving habitat quality of existing native vegetation
  • Increasing habitat connectivity
  • Stabilising soil
  • Reducing weeds.

The project is part-funded through the Australian Government National Landcare Program and administered by ACT Natural Resource Management (NRM).

Alt Tharwa Log Jam The Tharwa Fish Habitat Project is rehabilitating a 100 kilometre stretch of the Upper Murrumbidgee River near Tharwa to enhance native fish populations.

Native fish populations in the Murrumbidgee River are estimated to have fallen to 10% of pre-European levels. Large amounts of sediment have been deposited in the river system following land clearing of the Monaro region for livestock grazing, flooding and erosion.

Using funding ($287,000) from the Australian Government, Murray–Darling Basin Authority, ACT Government and Icon Water, two engineered log jams were introduced and some existing rock groynes enhanced. The artificial habitat structures have increased river channel depth past the structures and improved native fish passage and habitat in the area. A 2014 survey found that Murray Cod are the dominant species around the log jams and groyne habitats and in rocky areas.

Revegetation and weed control along the river bank has also rehabilitated native habitat.