Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association is on a mission to restore Ipswich waterways to their rich biodiversity of yesteryear.
Operating since 1988, this community-based association is just one example of the many grassroots initiatives making a difference across Ipswich every day for the benefit of the region’s iconic natural values.
To support these local environmental champions, Ipswich City Council is encouraging not-for-profit groups, schools and childcare centres to apply now for up to $3,000 each before the first round of the 2023-2024 Enviroplan Levy Community Funding Program closes on 30 September.
As a recent recipient of the Enviroplan Levy Community Funding Program, Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association is a shining example of the exponential impact that can be made when investing in community action.
Somerset & Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association President Garry Fitzgerald said the volunteer-run association re-stocks native fish in local waterways to improve conservation and recreational fishing outcomes across the region.
“We applied for funding to help address a missing link in the biodiversity of Ipswich’s waterways, resulting from the extinction of the Brisbane River Cod in the 1930s,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“Our project involved sourcing 1,000 juvenile Mary River Cod from one of only two hatcheries currently permitted to produce these fish, then under our stocking permit, releasing them into local waters to revive the local cod population lost almost a century ago.
“With additional funding from Somerset Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Department of Environment and Science, and CleanCo Queensland, more than 28,000 juvenile cods have been released.
Following the extinction of Brisbane River Cod in the 1930s, releasing Mary River Cod fingerlings aims to restore this native apex predator to the ecosystem
Somerset & Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association releasing Mary River Cod fingerlings into Ipswich waterways
“As a top order predator growing to a metre in length, cod can help to control pest fish populations such as tilapia, carp and mosquitofish that are widespread in our region, damaging the natural environment and native fish communities.
“Cod are fully protected through Queensland’s Recreational Fishing Rules and Regulations, safeguarding their protection when released.
“Our goal is to create a self-sustaining cod population in our waterways, without the need for ongoing intervention.
“Similar projects in other river systems have seen great success, and we look forward to monitoring the introduced cod fingerlings through to their maturity over the next five years.”
Deputy Mayor Russell Milligan.
Ipswich City Council Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Deputy Mayor Russell Milligan said council is proud to support community initiatives and partnerships that contribute to a vibrant, healthy and sustainable city.
“There is a role for everyone in protecting and maintaining Ipswich’s vast and diverse natural landscape, and we can be proud of the work that our grass-roots community groups do every day to make an impact,” Deputy Mayor Milligan said.
“I’m pleased to invite not-for-profit community groups, schools, childcare centres and wildlife carers to apply for council’s support in continuing their invaluable contribution to our environment.
“The Enviroplan Levy Community Funding Program supports projects that increase community understanding and participation while conserving bushland and native flora and fauna on private or public land within our local government boundary.
“This complements council’s own conservation work with our city boasting more than 6,500 hectares of reserves and conservation estates.
“Around $960,000 in this year’s budget has been committed from the Enviroplan Levy to support the management and maintenance of these critical natural habitats, including Flinders Goolman and White Rock Spring Mountain Conservation Estates.
“Working together, council and community groups can make a real difference to our natural environment so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
The Enviroplan Levy Community Funding Program has recently changed from three annual rounds to two, providing applicants with a more streamlined application process and more funding available each round.
Funding has increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for not-for-profit community groups and organisations, and from $1,000 to $1,500 for wildlife carers each round.