22 April 2022

Residents and visitors to Merrigum will soon have new recreational fishing opportunities thanks to a new project to transform unused water storage lagoons in Merrigum into fishing lakes.

The project has been developed in partnership by Goulburn Valley Water and the Burnanga Indigenous Fishing Club with local contractors and businesses helping develop the site or provide materials.

The Dunyak Moira project (meaning fishing lake in Yorta Yorta language) will create opportunities for two decommissioned, empty lagoons at the Merrigum Water Treatment Plant – one a 10 megalitre and the other a 50 megalitre – to be stocked with native fish.

Sustainability has been a key factor in the project’s development, with the fishing platforms constructed with recycled materials from projects at GVW sites, as well as donated and recycled materials used in other areas of construction.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria has donated rootballs from trees damaged in the 2021 Victorian storms – along with the concrete pipes, these have been turned into ‘fish hotels’ to create fish habitats on the larger lagoon’s flat floor.

As well as providing aquatic refuges in preparation for future dry conditions, duck nesting boxes have also been installed on both lagoons, with support from Field & Game Australia.

The two lagoons have been unused, since a new supply pipeline to the nearby Kyabram Water Treatment Plant was constructed in the early 2000s.

Quote attributable to Goulburn Valley Managing Director Steve Capewell

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase to Victoria and the wider water industry about the opportunities for reimagining uses for decommissioned assets, like the two lagoons here in Merrigum, and turning them into accessible community spaces to encourage people to connect with nature and enjoy local outdoor activities.”

Quotes attributable to Burnanga Indigenous Fishing Club President Corey Walker

“The fishing lagoons will create opportunities for Burnanga to have a dedicated hub for social and educational activities, to help with our purpose to care for Country and culture through fishing; and help to decrease social isolation and improve mental health and wellbeing across our community.”