Just one part of a larger restoration project to improve Deniliquin’s lagoon system, the Werrpanakata Fish Park at Brown’s Park, is a fine example of how the environment can be protected in a meaningful way.
Designed to protect the environmental asset and draw tourists into Deniliquin, the fish park is a collaborative project between community and government organisations.
And it’s why the project was deemed a worthy recipient of the Bill Hermiston Memorial Environment Award.
The Deniliquin Lagoons Restoration Project committee includes members of the Edward Wakool Angling Association, Murray Local Land Services, Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre, Deniliquin High School and the Ricegrowers’ Association Environmental Champions Program.
Funding from the Deniliquin RSL Fishing Club, NSW Government, Edward River Council, Murray Local Land Services and Murray Irrigation Limited has contributed to its development so far.
The former Deniliquin Council approved the development of the lagoon in June 2015, after the project was submitted by former EWAA president and now Deniliquin Lagoons Restoration Project member Ian Fisher.
In the first stage of the project, the lagoon was drained, cleared of evasive weeds, reshaped and deepened at one point to up to 2.5m to provide suitable fish habitats.
Since then, native plants have been introduced and there has been some work to add some Aboriginal cultural elements.
The fish park project also saw a school engagement plan developed by the DLRP this year, with students building casting decks for the park and helping clean out the lagoon. Two decks have been added so far.
Future plans include a bush tucker garden on the lagoon’s island and potentially tree carvings, both expected to be completed by Yarkuwa.
There are also plans to add art elements like a tree stump sculpture, as well as toilets and a barbecue to build it up to a tourist attraction.