2011 – Burrum Weir Fishway – Fish Biology and River Flows: Two Faces

Lesa Delaere, Ivor Stuart, Thomas Ewing, David Marsh

As part of Wide Bay Water’s commitment to minimising environmental impacts of its water supply weirs, a “Nature Like” Fishway is under development for the Burrum No 1 Weir. This project is a fishway offset provision for the raising of Lenthalls Dam in the upper reaches of the Burrum River in Hervey Bay. The Burrum No 1 weir forms the primary pumping pool for the Hervey Bay water supply and is located at the tidal limit of the Burrum River. Understanding fish biology and behaviour is critical to the effectiveness of the design of a fishway as much as the balance between the goals of maximising fish passage versus cost, construction and operational difficulties that a fish passage solution may present.

This paper presents the aquatic ecology of the project and the inter-relationship of fish biology and river flow frequency. It discusses the fish species of the Burrum River, their behaviour, seasonal migration and criteria for successful passage. It presents the analysis of river flows with respect to frequency and headwater/tailwater relationships to weir drownout, which was complicated by the tidal flow regimes downstream of the weir. These aspects were also applied in consideration of river behaviour; low flow characteristics for fishway operation during dry seasons and drought, and high flow characteristics during the wet season and floods.

The biological needs for successful fish passage for two very different river flow characteristics were analysed. This allowed targeted design criteria and fishway solution to be developed to provide maximum benefit without causing undue cost to the project.

 Burrum Weir Fishway – Fish Biology and River Flows: Two Faces

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