As with much of the Murray Darling Basin, the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment (upstream of Burrinjuck Dam at Yass) is plagued with carp. In the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment, Sustainable Rivers Audit sampling has previously identified carp as making up approximately 70% of fish biomass (2012), and their distribution is continuously growing throughout the catchment. The Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach  produced a carp reduction plan that highlights the need for more information regarding the movement ecology, reproduction and recruitment of this species to aid future management programs.

Build up of sand has caused loss of instream habitat for native fish within the Upper Murrumbidgee demonstration reach.  Unlike native fish, carp can happily live in these condirions. Photo: Mark Jekabsons

“Carp Love 20oC” was launched by Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch to engage the local community in the Upper Murrumbidgee catchment to report sightings of carp aggregations and breeding behavior on the Invasive Animals CRC FeralFishScan database.

The launch of the campaign was aimed to coincide with peak breeding activity of carp, which in the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment, is loosely correlated with spring water temperatures reaching 20 degrees celsius. By the time the campaign officially ended on 7 December 2015, 91 carp sightings had been reported across the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment. 19 of these explicitly identified carp breeding behaviour. The number and size class of fish, their behaviour along with date, location and habitat attributes were recorded. This will be used to further plot known breeding habitats of carp in the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment.

Scottsdale Reserve on the Murrumbidgee River where carp are being targeted to protect habitat for baby cod like the one photographed here. Photo credit: Annette Ruzicka

Due to the success of the program, the campaign is continuing each spring to gain further information on carp breeding and movement behaviour.   Ongoing engagement and contributions from the public are essential to forming a complete picture of carp reproduction and recruitment dynamics in the Upper Murrumbidgee River catchment.

For more information and to get involved, head to the website

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