The Maffra Diversion Weir.
Prior to this weir being built in 1954, the Macalister River below Lake Glenmaggie was still in a largely natural state, with deep pools, shallows, and sandbars, and home to thriving populations of Tupong, River Blackfish, Short-finned Eels and other native fish. With the weir effectively preventing upstream migration, the Tupong in particular suffered, and in subsequent years virtually disappeared from this reach. Tupong spawn in the estuaries, and juvenile fish then make their way upstream to populate suitable habitat. The West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority is doing excellent work coordinating environmental flows down the Macalister to suit the spawning habits of various species of native fish, and a recurring item at meetings of the Environmental Water Advisory Group has been the need for a fish passage at the weir to once again allow upstream migration of these fish. Happily the Victorian Government has agreed to fund the fishway, and on the eleventh of August, 2022, the Water Minister, Harriet Shing visited the weir to announce the funding.
The project will be overseen jointly by the WGCMA, and Southern Rural Water who control the weir. This will allow a further thirty four kilometres of the Macalister to once again be home to Tupong and other native fish that move along the river.
A few kilometres upstream from the weir lies Bellbird Corner Riverside Reserve, where for twenty years a small group of volunteers has been revegetating former grazing land and restoring habitat for native flora and fauna. The return of these native fish to this stretch of the river will be another step in the important process of restoring the natural ecosystem of this beautiful small riverside reserve.