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Published: 15 October 2012

Condamine River wins 2012 Australian Riverprize

The International RiverFoundation (IRF) has awarded its 2012 Australian Riverprize to the Condamine Alliance of Queensland, for demonstrating excellence in restoring native fish populations to the Condamine River at the top of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Queen May Falls, a rehabilitated section of the Dewfish Demonstration Reach.
Queen May Falls, a rehabilitated section of the Dewfish Demonstration Reach.
Credit: Condamine Alliance

Determined to ‘bring the fish back’, the Condamine Alliance developed a strategic plan for river rehabilitation in the catchment. Since 2006, it has been spearheading efforts along the Dewfish Demonstration Reach of the river.

Underpinning this strategy was a commitment to strong community and indigenous engagement and a shared a vision with partners to increase native fish populations to 60 per cent of pre-European settlement levels by 2050.

The Condamine Alliance now has the opportunity to develop a ‘twinning’ program with another river basin to encourage others to develop similar projects in their catchments. The twinning program receives support from the International RiverFoundation and ensures the Australian community of river practitioners will also benefit from the Condamine Alliance example.

The Condamine Alliance is the regional body for natural resource management (NRM) in the Condamine catchment. The Dewfish Demonstration Reach in southern Queensland is the state’s first native fish strategy demonstration reach.

The purpose of the Reach is to promote the importance of a healthy river system for native fish populations and the greater river catchment. This goal has taken on a special urgency with current native fish populations down by 90 per cent since European settlement.

The other finalists in the 2012 Australian Riverprize were the Georges River (NSW) and the Swan & Canning Rivers (WA).

The Australian Riverprize is awarded annually along with the Thiess International Riverprize, and a European Riverprize will be awarded for the first time in 2013. The Australian Riverprize is worth $200,000 and is funded by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative through the Water Smart Australia program.

Applications for 2013 are now open for all categories – see the IRF website for further details.

Source: IRF

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