Students learn more about their river

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More than 60 Balmoral school kids got up close and personal with native fish from the Glenelg River yesterday (March 23) as part of an electrofishing demonstration run by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA.
Scientists from the CMA used electrofishing techniques to show the students native fish living in the river at Balmoral as part of their science program.
After fish were captured and placed in tanks for identification, students helped CMA scientists record the fish species before they were returned to the stream.
Teacher Julie-Anne Lyons said the electrofishing excursion was a great way to show students science in action.
"The kids really enjoyed coming out and seeing something they hadn't seen before. They learnt a lot about the river, the type of fish that are present and whether they are introduced or not," she said.
Year 4/5 student Lexie Smith said she enjoyed seeing the fish and learning about how the river worked.
"I liked watching when they were all stunning the fish. That was pretty cool just watching it all.
She said she was surprised to see how many fish there were in the river.
"I thought there was only going to be a coupled, but there were heaps."
Stephen Ryan from the CMA said it was great to be able to show local school children - some of the science behind the river they know and love.
"Kids come here to play, fish and swim, if we can show them that there is a whole world thriving underneath the surface of the water that's a good thing," he said.
"Not only are we able to show them the fish that are here, we can show them how things like lower salinity, higher dissolved oxygen from water releases make the river a better place for these fish to be."
"It's fantastic to see the students so keen to learn more about their river."
He said the presence of more species of native fish in the upper Glenelg River indicates the rivers heath is improving.
"We've done a lot of work in recent years removing fish barriers, creating fish habitat by adding snags back to the river and improving flows through releasing water for the environment from Rocklands," he said.
"It's great to see a real change in native fish numbers in the upper Glenelg at the same time."
"We've had species like estuary perch and tupong moving back into these areas after being absent for more than 60 years."
"Our other studies show us that numbers of critically endangered variegated pygmy perches have increased ten-fold and blackfish numbers have doubled in the past 7 years."
"This gives us a fair indication that the Glenelg is bouncing back. Now that the upper Glenelg is no longer dry and saline for much of the year, it's able to support a wider range of fish year-round."
"This means good things for all users of the river, especially the younger generation."