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Walaman warms up for Tropical Innovation Awards

Walaman Fishways are in the running for the 2011 Tropical Innovation Awards to be held at a gala event in Cairns on 12 August 2011. The Tropical Innovation Awards, sponsored by Cairns Regional Council and partner organisations, have been established to recognise and reward innovation and invention in support of economic diversification and sustainability in Far North Queensland and adjoining tropical regions. Chosen as a finalist in the Tropical Zone Innovation category, Walaman has also been nominated for the People’s Choice Award. The Walaman prefabricated fishway system, which is to be profiled for the awards event, provides ready solutions to fish migration barrier problems at road culverts and represents a major environmental breakthrough for north Queensland waterways. Judging of the awards is presently underway by a select panel of industry ambassadors and professionals. Voting for the People’s Choice Award can be undertaken until 11 August 2011 at…

Link to the Tropical Innovations website for Peoples’ Choice Voting

Walaman wins prestigious Healthy Waterways Award

Walaman Fishways, in collaboration with CM Concrete Products and James Cook University, has won the Humes – Industry Award at last month’s Healthy Waterways Awards. Now in its eleventh year, the annual Healthy Waterways Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of groups and individuals working to improve the health of South East Queensland’s waterways and catchments. Humes National Water Solutions Manager, Darren Drapper, who presented the award, has commended and encouraged the initiatives undertaken by industry in this field. Environmental Engineer Ross Kapitzke says that the Walaman prefabricated fishway system reduces the impact of fish migration barriers at

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small waterway structures such as road culverts and causeways. “The Walaman fishway system provides a ready solution to overcoming fish migration barriers at these structures and allows more extensive provision for fish passage in waterway projects,” Mr Kapitzke said.

Link to the Healthy Waterways website for 2011 Finalists and Winners

Native fish group swings into action after fishway talks

Several talks illustrating the abundance of native fish moving through the Walaman culvert fishway at Enoggera Creek Bennett Road have helped create a movement of its own as freshwater fish enthusiasts in Brisbane have participated in a recent fish survey in Brisbane’s inner western catchments. Present interest in the environmental effects of the Brisbane floods, and an exchange of invitations between the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network (CWCN) and the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association (ANGFA Qld) have led to talks to each of these groups by Environmental Engineer Ross Kapitzke. Subsequent to this, a number of ANGFA members lent their experience to a fish survey conducted by CWCN in Cubberla Creek on Sunday 13 February. The Cubberla Creek results were encouraging to participants, and although showing reduced abundance and diversity of native fish compared with Enoggera Creek, helped members understand the significance of aquatic habitat and fauna connectivity conditions for Brisbane waterways. In his talk to ANGFA on Friday 11 February, Ross spoke about fish migration barriers in Brisbane waterways, their impacts on fauna connectivity, and mitigation measures to overcome these barriers. Participation of ANGFA members in the Cubberla survey, and the improved results for these inner western Brisbane catchments are a good sign both for native freshwater fish communities, and for continuing collaboration between communities in Brisbane interested in freshwater fish.

Download the handout for Ross’s presentation to the ANGFA Qld meeting

Walaman passes fishway test at Enoggera Creek

The Walaman Fishways prefabricated fishway system installed in the Enoggera Creek Bennett Road culvert in Brisbane has passed its first test in relation to fish passage. Designed to provide for upstream fish migration in low flow conditions, the fishway has now been tested during flow depths of between 330 mm and 600 mm at the structure. Biological monitoring using a fish cage placed alternately within the fishway channel upstream of the Offset Baffle and Block Ramp fishway sections has revealed in excess of 50 fish / hour passing through the fishway. This includes at least 7 native freshwater fish species, including juvenile and adult fish of between 2 cm – 9 cm. Severe hydraulic conditions in adjoining sections of the culvert prevent upstream fish migration due to high velocities, lack of shelter, shallow flow and water surface drop. Ongoing biological monitoring of the fishway will sample fish communities downstream of the site and examine fish passage effectiveness in terms of successful movement through each of the fishway sections over a range of flow depths.

Download folio of fishway design flows, monitoring and fish passage

Fishway boosts fish migration in Brisbane waterway

Some positive environmental effects can now be seen in waterways in Brisbane and other areas of SE Queensland in spite of the major impacts of recent flood rains. Sustained flow in Enoggera Creek in recent months has lead to a substantial increase in native freshwater fish populations in the creek, as wetlands rejuvinate and ecological processes kick in following years of drought. A fishway installed in Enoggera Creek at the Bennett Road culvert has also boosted fish migration to upstream reaches in response to these flows. The Bennett Road fishway, incorporating Walaman Block Ramp and Offset Baffle fishway designs, has allowed upstream migration of at least 7 native freshwater species at the site. This includes Gudgeon, Rainbowfish, Hardyhead, Australian Smelt and Bony Bream, ranging in size from 2 cm – 9 cm. A specially designed fish monitoring cage used to sample fish movement shows more than 50 fish / hour have been moving through the fishway under design flow conditions.

Walaman features in fishway design talk at SIAQ event

The merits of the Walaman prefabricated fishway system were outlined in a talk on fish passage design to the Stormwater Industry Association of Queensland (SIAQ) September 2010 technical meeting. In his presentation Fishway design 101: More than a few rocks and a splash of wishful thinking, Environmental engineer Ross Kapitzke from James Cook University School of Engineering and Physical Sciences described how aquatic fauna connectivity / fish passage was a natural fit for the stormwater industry and contemporary design practices such as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). After identifying typical hydraulic barriers to fish migration at stormwater infrastructure such as road culverts, Ross described how fish passage solutions are greatly assisted with the use of fishway components such as the Offset Baffle and Block Ramp fishways provided by Walaman Fishways. Applications of the hydraulic design approach to fish passage, and merits of the prefabricated fishway system were demonstrated with design data, photos and video.

Download the handout for Ross’s presentation at the SIAQ technical event

Link to the SIAQ website for the full slide version of Ross’s presentation

Community groups visit Enoggera Creek fishway site

With the Enoggera Creek Bennett Road fishway now in place, a number of site visits for community groups and other stakeholders have been held. Representatives from catchment groups in Brisbane and surrounding areas were shown the fishway by Environmental engineer and fishway designer Ross Kapitzke from James Cook University School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Ross demonstrated how the Walaman fishway products have been used in the project design and described how the fishway was expected to operate during flow events in Enoggera Creek. The Offset Baffle and Block Ramp fishway devices were described and their effectiveness in overcoming hydraulic barriers to fish migration through the culvert was discussed. Ross outlined the planning and design process for a fishway such as this, and described the hydraulic, biological and physical monitoring program presently underway for the Bennett Road site.

Download the handout for Ross’s presentation at the Bennett Road site visit

Success for Walaman at SIAQ 2010 awards night

Walaman Fishways were awarded Highly Commended for Excellence in Research, Innovation, Policy and Education at the Stormwater Industry Association Queensland (SIAQ) 2010 awards night recently held at the Urban Hotel in Brisbane. The SIAQ awards are part of a national awards program conducted by the Stormwater Industry Association to provide recognition and celebrate excellence in innovative developments and projects in stormwater. The Walaman award recognised the suitability of the prefabricated fishway system for a range of waterway structure types and configurations. It also acknowledged the provisions made in design to allow ready integration of the Walaman system into the waterway structure to meet fish passage and other multipurpose design requirements for the site. Ongoing design, development and evaluation work that is now underway will ensure the best hydraulic and biological performance of the fishway in new projects, and increase the opportunity for uptake of the Walaman system in the stormwater industry.

Fish migration barriers at Enoggera Creek culvert

The Bennett Road culvert crossing of Enoggera Creek in Brisbane represents a barrier to upstream fish migration due to high velocity, shallow flow, water surface drop, and lack of resting place for fish. This structure represents a barrier to aquatic fauna connectivity between habitat areas in the creek and prevents migration from downstream to upstream reaches for more than 6 species of native freshwater fish. The Walaman prefabricated fishway system has recently been installed to provide for upstream fish passage and to overcome the fish migration barriers for a range of flow conditions at the culvert.

Initial flows through culvert fishway at Enoggera Creek

The Walaman prefabricated fishway system has been installed in the Enoggera Creek Bennett Road culvert in Brisbane. Project objectives are to provide for upstream fish passage, retain the integrity and function of the culvert structure, and provide a demonstration site. The fishway incorporates the Block Ramp and Offset Baffle fishway designs to overcome hydraulic barriers in various zones of the structure – downstream of the culvert, on the culvert downstream apron, and within the culvert barrel. Flow observations and hydraulic monitoring have been undertaken in August 2010 to examine initial hydraulic and physical performance of the fishway for flows up to 400 mm deep. Biological monitoring of the fishway will be undertaken later this year when fish are expected to be moving in the waterway.