Recent surveys of both fish and birds in and around Lake Cargelligo by local ecologist, Dr Adam Kerezsy from Dr Fish Consulting, and Dr Jo Lenehan, Lachlan environmental water manager, are helping to develop a more complete picture about how the lake contributes to the ecological health of the whole Lachlan valley. See the full story at https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/news/research-underway-at-the-lake-cargelligo-fish-and-bird-nursery or below:
“It’s been fantastic to see plenty of baby bony bream and other small species like gudgeons, Australian smelt and hardyhead as part of this research, because even though people don’t usually see them these are the species that underpin our ecosystem. Without small fish, we’re unlikely to have big fish like cod and Golden perch,” said Dr Kerezsy.
“Bony bream school and are a main food source for the larger fish-eating birds like pelicans and cormorants, and we’ve also seen large numbers of pelicans feeding on Lake Cargelligo, especially as Lake Brewster draws down after the end of the irrigation season and food supplies within Brewster become limited. Lake Cargelligo is now providing a productive and important foraging ground for both adults and juvenile pelicans dispersing from their breeding site at Lake Brewster,” he said.
Australian smelt, hardyhead and gudgeons are smaller fish, rarely reaching seven or eight centimetres, but they are still a vital food source, not only for birds like terns and pelicans, but also for larger fish. The research has also shown good numbers of juvenile Golden perch down to 30mm in length, indicating a successful result of local breeding events.
“This big, shallow lake, complete with a lot of different habitats, such as creeks, canals, backwaters and plenty of cover provides an ideal breeding environment for fish because there’s plenty of food and plenty of places to hide. Further work is needed to confirm the extent to which fish species use the lake for breeding before moving back into the river,” said Mr Kerezsy.”