Concurrent Sessions A: Co-Benefits of Barrier Removal: Fish Passage and Public Safety - Loudoun Weir, The Fishway That Never Ends: Maintaining Ongoing Investment in a Publicly Owned Fishway
At first glance fishway construction may appear to be as simple as build it and they will come; however experience with the Loudoun weir fishway has shown there are technical, financial and social factors that need to be considered if a fishway is to be a success. Loudoun Weir is situated on the Condamine River near the town of Dalby in South-west Queensland, Australia. The original structure had a pool and weir design fishway which was deemed to be ineffective. In 1995 the local government authority raised the height of the weir by 1.2m and was required by the state fisheries department under legislation to fit the current vertical slot fishway. The vertical slot fishway was an early prototype of the design in Australia and was considered to be only partly effective; accordingly it was only operated infrequently. Condamine Alliance has subsequently worked with local, state and Australian governments, private contractors, investors and the local community to upgrade the fishway in 2006 and again in 2012. Upgrade, maintenance and operation of the fishway has cost in excess of $1M AUD of public and private investment. Upstream increases of native fish species have been recorded and the fishway is believed to be a major contributor to these increases. The success of the fishway has also contributed to Condamine Alliance winning two national awards for waterway management in 2012, the Australian River prize and the Banksia Award for Water. The nature of the interactions between all stakeholders is complex and the need for improvements, maintenance and management of the structure has been constant. The pressures for stakeholders to walk away and allow the structure to fall into disrepair have been great and abandonment has only been prevented through the persistence of a few key influencers. As a result perception of the fishway has changed from it being a major liability to a public asset of great intrinsic value.