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Raft removal set to start

Western Plains App

Kristin Murdock

27 March 2024, 2:40 AM

Raft removal set to startLarge rafts that have been clogging the Macquarie River near Warren will soon be removed.

Last June, Western Plains App reported on concerns about numerous large rafts of materials clogging up the Macquarie River near Warren.


The rafts were made up of woody debris (both native and exotic) and man-made items such as chemical drums, tyres and plastics.


After months of planning and preparation, the time to deal with the debris is nearing.



Relevant authorities referred to them as rafts one to seven with raft one located approximately 26 kilometres downstream of Warren and raft seven located approximately the same distance upstream of Marebone Weir.

 

Bron Powell, the project manager of the Central Murray Darling Basin branch of OzFish, said willow logs were creating many of the blockages.

 

Ms Powell told ABC reporters that the longest raft was about 130-metres long and that the seven rafts go almost all the way across the river, though water can still flow underneath.

 

"So many plastic bottles, chemical drums, fridges, tyres ... it's a big mess," she said. "Fish don't really like swimming up dark passageways, it spooks them out."

 

Almost a year on, and an announcement has been made that work to remove the rafts will begin on April 8 but the scope of the works is bigger than originally expected.



Last year it was proposed to partially remove two rafts. Adding to current plans is the additional removal of human-made debris from the river between the Warren (Top) Weir and the Marebone Weir. Identifiable woody weed debris, like willow, will also be removed from rafts.

 

Feedback from the community, including two drop-in sessions last year, has helped form the latest plans for removal and another community drop-in session was to be held yesterday (26 March) to update local residents on the work.

  

"We now have a contractor engaged and ready to start flood recovery clean-up works in the Macquarie River, which is expected to take four to six weeks," said Environmental Services Functional Area Coordinator, Steve Beaman.

 

"The contractor will remove human-made debris from the river between the two weirs as well as removing identifiable woody weed debris like willow from the rafts.


"Native woody debris that is impacting on access for the removal of other debris will be tethered to the riverbank to assist with bank stabilisation and preserving aquatic habitats.


The aim of the works is to help water flow and quality, as well as the overall health of the river.


"We will be monitoring water flow, quality and bank erosion throughout the duration of the works, with safety to workers and the environment our biggest priority," Mr Beaman said.

A community drop-in session was held in Warren on 26 March at the Window on the Wetlands Centre. Western Plains App will report on any updates as they come to hand.