Hundreds of native fish have been recorded in Small Creek for the first time since work began to return it to a naturalised creek from a concrete drain.
The discovery is significant because it means efforts to create a suitable habitat for wildlife have been successful.
A total of 874 fish, most small in size, were recorded in May in the section of the creek between Briggs Road and Warwick Road.
This included six native species and two pests. Native species recorded included carp gudgeon, fly-specked hardyhead and longfin eel.
Ipswich City Council Acting Principal Officer of Natural Resources, Phil Smith, said it was an exciting result.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. We knew there would be the pest fish tilapia in there but the fact that we recorded more natives than pests is very encouraging,” he said.
Some of the fish found at Small Creek.
“It means the water quality is good and that we have created an attractive habitat for them to make their way up from the Bremer River and Deebing Creek.
“To go from having zero fish in the creek 12 months ago to recording an abundance of native fish confirms what we are doing is working.
“One of the native species found was carp gudgeon which eats mosquitoes, and that’s good news because it means natural regulation of the mosquito population will occur.”
Small Creek languished as a concrete channel for several decades before council embarked on a four-stage project to return it to a more natural state.
The focus was on not only restoring important habitat for wildlife and improving the quality of water entering the river system but also improving flood protection for the nearby area.
Sustainability has been a focus of the project, with parts of the concrete channel saved from landfill and repurposed as features throughout the re-naturalised creek.
Stages one and two have been completed, with the section of the creek between Briggs Road and Warwick Road now unrecognisable from its days as a concrete drain.
Native trees and grasses planted along the waterway have taken hold and plenty of birds are taking advantage of the area.
Mr Smith said design and community engagement work for stages three and four, which will stretch from Briggs Road to Whitehill Road, was expected to begin later this year.
Monitoring of the fish population in Small Creek will be carried out annually.