Some impacts of low and medium head weirs on downstream fish movement in the Murray–Darling Basin in southeastern Australia


Justin P. O'Connor, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia; e-mail: justin.o'


Abstract –  This article reports on the findings of a study undertaken within the Murray-Darling River Basin in southeastern Australia, which investigated the impact of weirs on downstream fish movement. Downstream fish movement was monitored at Kennedy's Weir (an overshot, 2 m high weir) on the Broken Creek and Torrumbarry Weir (an undershot, 6.5 m high weir) on the Murray River. A trap used to sample Kennedy's Weir indicated that fish travelled downstream over this weir without sustaining injury or death. A follow-up study, whereby fish were captured below the two respective weirs and translocated upstream where they were radio tagged and released, indicated that while a few fish travelled downstream past the weirs on their return movements back to their home range areas, most were reluctant to do so. This study demonstrates that low-level weirs may inhibit downstream fish movement, and enhancement of downstream fish passage for potamodromous fish species warrants further investigation.