Instream habitat mapping (Victoria)

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Instream woody habitat (IWH), commonly known as ‘snags’, plays a vital role in many functions that are essential in maintaining stream health, which in turn support recreational fisheries and other social and cultural values. Historically, IWH has been removed from many Victorian streams to improve navigation, protect infrastructure and reduce the risk of flooding. However, research has shown that removing IWH has minimal impact on flood mitigation, but instead can impair river bank stability and ecological health, and contributes to the decline of fish populations. Stream restoration programs now commonly involve re-introducing IWH into streams and revegetating riparian zones to improve fish habitat and fish communities. To identify and prioritise areas where IWH needs protection and augmentation, baseline information on the amounts of IWH in streams is required. Scientists at ARI are investigating the amount and distribution of IWH in Victorian streams so that informed decisions can be made about where to protect or rehabilitate IWH.

Organisation Department of Sustainability and Environment

Zeb Tonkin, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Arthur Rylah Institute, ph. (03) 9450 8600

Funding Body Victorian Investment Framework (Department of Sustainability and Environment)