Fish hotels – an innovative conservation initiative

An innovative new project to breathe life into the Harvey River involves the installation of nine ‘fish hotels’ designed to provide habitat and protection for native aquatic species.

The collaborative effort is part of the Creating Climate Resilient Rivers program, supported by the State Government.

The fish hotels, looking like small wooden pyramids, will sit on the riverbed in a 500 metre section near Riverdale Road and serve as an ideal location to attract and retain aquatic wildlife.

Species that will benefit include freshwater catfish, nightfish, pygmy perch, western minnow and blue spot goby, as well as crustaceans such as marron, shrimp and gilgie.

The new fish hotels will also boost habitat for turtles, rakali (water rats) and water birds. The new structures emulate what naturally occurs in rivers and streams when trees fall into the waterways.

The purpose built ‘hotels’ have been constructed by Waroona Men’s Shed and students from the Western Australian College of Agriculture in Harvey using locally sourced timber. They follow an environmentally friendly design made from natural materials and will provide habitat without increasing the risk of erosion or flooding.

The hotels provide a practical and immediate solution for enhancing aquatic habitat which will be further bolstered by revegetation of riverbanks in the long term.

Creating Climate Resilient Rivers will be undertaking a range of projects in coming years focused on building climate resilience of rivers. These will include creating new climate refuges, enhancing instream habitat and revegetation of banks and restoring fish passage through several dams and weirs.

A significant part of the work will include mapping biodiversity and habitat values across WA’s Southwest rivers and identifying areas of permanent water with intact streamside vegetation that support aquatic and terrestrial species during the dry season.