Enhancing the biodiversity of our wetlands environment for native species to flourish is of high importance.
We conduct many surveys to ascertain the various species and numbers of animals and birds using our wetlands for habitat, food source and breeding.
These surveys include Orange bellied parrots, shorebirds & migratory birds, turtles, bats, general bird counts, Cape Barren Geese, frogs, tadpoles and regular native fish species to name a few.
During the winters of 2013 and 2014, 140,000 trees, shrubs and grasses, based on different vegetation zones, were planted on Mundoo & Ewe Islands. The plantings will enhance the ecological value of the area and provide a diverse range of habitat and food source for our many native animals and birds.
The timing of the rain was perfect!
The wetlands of Mundoo & Ewe Islands are home to many native fish species but none more important than the Southern pygmy perch (endangered in South Australia) and Murray hardyhead (critically endangered in South Australia).
The Southern pygmy perch and Murray hardyhead populations suffered considerably during the Millennium Drought due to destruction of their habitat.
We had 2 sites on our property where we were nurturing both species, but sadly the evaporation over Summer destroyed both sites. Salinity levels increased dramatically in remnant pools of still water, making fish survival almost impossible at the time.
The University of SA are continuing to monitor these important refuse sites and the Government undertook a release of both species, that were held in captivity, on Mundoo Island following the drought recovery period.
Native fish re-introductions were undertaken on Mundoo Island in the week of 26th -30th March, 2012 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Critical Fish Habitat Project.
A summary of the March 2012 re-introductions that were undertaken on Mundoo Island are as follows:
Approximately 3500 Murray hardyhead were released into Mundoo Drain East. These fish were sourced from a surrogate refuge site near Mt Torrens in the Adelaide Hills. These fish are offspring from fish that were rescued from Rocky Gully and Boggy Creek Wetland.
Approximately 280 Southern pygmy perch were also released into Mundoo Drain East (approximately 300-400 metres from the Murray hardyhead site). These fish were bred at Flinders University from rescued fish from the Hindmarsh Island area.
The third round of native fish re-introductions for the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Critical Fish Habitat project were undertaken on Mundoo Island during the week of 3rd - 7th December, 2012.
Approximately 3500 Murray hardyhead were released into Mundoo Drain East.
This takes the total number of threatened fish released into waterways on Mundoo Island to over 7,000. The majority have been Murray hardyhead with a small number of Southern pygmy perch.
As part of the re-introduction process, follow up monitoring has been undertaken to determine the success of the re-introductions. Two follow up monitoring rounds have now been undertaken, the first in late Feb/early March 2012 and the second in November 2012.
Yarra pygmy perch: 10 re-introduced fish have been recaptured (autumn 2012 - 0 fish, spring 2012 - 10 fish).
Southern pygmy perch: 17 re-introduced fish have been recaptured (autumn 2012 - 12 fish, spring 2012 - 5 fish).
Murray hardyhead: 0 re-introduced fish have been recaptured. A wild population has been sampled at one location within the Lower Lakes region.
Southern purple-spotted gudgeon: 4 re-introduced fish have been recaptured (autumn 2012 - 3 fish, spring 2012 - 1 fish).
These numbers are encouraging and may be starting to suggest that the re-introduction process is having a positive result on threatened species populations in the Lower Lakes region.