drumThis is the device which environmental fishing group ECOfishers hopes will prevent further fish kills in our local rivers during floods.

It’s called a drum gate, and ECOfishers’ Ken Thurlow hopes that this one, installed at Montis Creek at Broadwater, will be followed by more on the Richmond River.

“Toxic water stored behind flood mitigation gates and in agricultural drains continues to have a serious impact on the marine biodiversity and ecosystems in the Richmond River,” Mr Thurlow said.

fishkill“These structures played a major role in contributing to the massive fish kill and environmental disaster that afflicted the river in January 2008 (pictured).

“There was widespread community outrage at the size and scale of that disaster.

“In another positive, hands-on environmental initiative, ECOfishers has organised a series of drum gates to be fitted to these flood gates.

“Drum gates permit tidal flushing of the toxic water in these drains, thereby diluting their lethal impact on the estuarine biodiversity and ecosystems.

“Drum gates also reduce the necessity for toxic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides being used to control weeds and pests on the stagnant water in the drains and on their banks.”

ECOfishers sought and secured significant funds from the recreational fishers’ licence fees to pay for this environmental initiative.

“The first of ECOfishers series of six ‘drum gates’ has just been fitted to the floodgates on Montis Creek, Broadwater, where it enters the Richmond River,” Mr Thurlow said.

“Already there has been a marked improvement in the water quality behind the gates, giving a healthier habitat.

“And as all fishers know, a healthy habitat means a healthy fishery.

“The next step is to educate some of the farmers about the benefits of drum gates and tidal flushing.”