Glenelg River's revival earns global plaudits

THE Glenelg River is in the running to win this year’s International Riverprize.

Ongoing work to restore the Glenelg River has it in the running for an international award.

Ongoing work to restore the Glenelg River has it in the running for an international award.

The Glenelg was selected to be in the finals for the prestigious international award after winning last year’s Australian Riverprize.

It gained selection through the work of the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority in restoring the river to a higher standard of health with innovative and original activities over the course of a decade.

Hundreds of farming families, along with conservation groups and industry, have rallied together to construct more than 1700km of fencing, plant more than 500,000 trees and directly seed more than 790km of waterways frontage to protect the river.

The restoration program also completed 2784ha of weed control, placed 870 pieces of large wood into the river to provide fish habitat and assist fish movement, opened 977km of the Glenelg and its tributaries to fish movement and established and delivered an environmental flows entitlement.

The Glenelg was at the point of ecological collapse during the mid-2000s due to low flows, poor water quality, loss of habitat, weed and carp invasion. 

However as a result of an integrated restoration program, flows have been restored and bare gullies have been stabilised under a mantle of vegetation. 

Improvements in the river’s health can be seen in the recovery of native fish populations that have increased by more than 150 per cent in restored reaches and several native fish species have extended their range by hundreds of kilometres. 

The Glenelg is vying for the international award against the rehabilitation of the Rhine River in Europe, the Petitcodiac River in Canada and the San Antonio River in the United States. 

The International RiverFoundation will announce the winner at the Riverprize gala dinner on Tuesday, September 16, at the National Convention Centre in Canberra during the 17th International Riversymposium.

International RiverFoundation chief executive officer Dr Nick Schofield said the finalists in the International Riverprize showcased the best of the best in river management globally.

The winner of the International Riverprize receives a substantial cash prize but this year’s amount has yet to be determined.

The 2012 winner received $300,000 that included $100,000 to fund the transfer of the winner’s best practices to a river with environmental problems in another part of the world.