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Heal the Peel: funding for a healthier river

Ozfish Northwest work hard to restore native vegetation and fish habitat in the Peel River. The Australian Government has committed to support their ongoing efforts with a $55,000 grant as part of the Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program.


“Over the past five years, we’ve worked consistently on the ‘Heal the Peel' Project,” said Anne Mitchie.


Anne Mitchie is the OzFish Tamworth Chapter President, and she said the Peel River and one of its main tributaries, Goonoo Goonoo Creek, face issues regarding invasive weeds.


“We’re looking further upstream at Goonoo Goonoo Creek; we know there is an issue there with a lot of invasive weeds and things that need restoration. The funding will allow us to knock out some of those invasives, mainly Willow trees, and get some of our native vegetation back along the banks there” said Ms Mitchie.


In 2017, Ozfishers came together to commence repairing decades of damage to Tamworth’s Peel River. To begin the hard task, sites were determined, and copious weeds were removed and replaced with riverbank natives.


Stage 2 of the Heal the Peal Project saw 500 trees added to the riverbank of the Peel River. In 2019, 1000 more trees were planted and weed infested stretches of the bank were removed.


Stage 4, 2020 saw the litter removal process begin, with the installation of trash racks on some of the worst drainage lines into the river.


Now, with the help of Federal funding, work can commence on the tributary Goonoo Goonoo Creek.


“This will be a win-win for the fish in the river plus all our other lovely iconic critters that call the river home like platypus and even native birdlife” said Ms Mitchie.


Member for New England, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said “13 grants valued at nearly $600,000, will be delivered to applicants across the New England region to improve the health of our local rivers and wetlands”.