Warrnambool’s suburban spread is having unexpected benefits for the Merri River.
As new housing developments cross the river, work is being done to create a recreational corridor and improve the Merri’s health.
Developers like Clayton Harrington have been working with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA along the Merri.
Work is being done to remove willows and create a recreational space landscaped with native plants. The North of the Merri River Structure Plan estimates an additional 5500 people will live in the area in the future and Mr Harrington said the Merri River would be an important green space as housing expands.
“Items such as fishing platforms, fish hotels and indigenous vegetation will increase the health of the river and provide an important community space,” he said.
The Merri’s transformation does not end at the river bank, with plans to boost fish populations and recreational angling opportunities along the river.
A grant application has been submitted for fishing platforms along the Merri River and Glenelg Hopkins CMA, with the assistance of the community are reintroducing fish habitat through the Funds for Fish Big Fish Hotel Project.
Funds for Fish spokesman Adam Bester said the pilot Glenelg Hopkins CMA’s crowdfunding campaign raised $18,400 for the Warrnambool: Big Fish Hotels’ Project, well above the funding target of $12,000.
The CMA will match the initial funding target dollar for dollar to improve the health of waterways.
“We have been blown away by the amount of support received from not only anglers, the local community and local businesses, but from the broader community,” Mr Bester said.
“While we have received government money to improve in-stream habitat and streamside zone, it wouldn’t be enough to restore the entire section through Warrnambool. The contribution of the community through the Merri River Big Fish Hotel Project will result in a positive transformation of their local river that might not have otherwise happened.”
Mr Harrington pledged $1000 to the campaign.
“Combining the fish hotels with the streamside restoration works currently under way will dramatically improve the opportunity for recreational fishing and provide many benefits for the whole community,” he said.