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Hawke Lane ‘fish-out’ to help save native fish

By November 2, 2018November 8th, 2018News

Local fishing enthusiasts are being given the opportunity to help preserve native fish in a farm dam that’s about to be decommissioned.

Orange City Council decided last week to award the tender to decommission a large dam in Hawke Lane in south Orange.

Because it’s believed the 230 metre long dam contains many fish, the community is being invited to join in the process of catching any native fish so they can be moved to a new location.

Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the ‘Hawke Lane Fish-Out’ will be an ideal opportunity for a family day out.

“The farm dam was identified early in the planning of the new Shiralee area, as a potential risk to housing in the event of flooding or a dam collapse,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “The council bought the dam a number of years ago with the intention of removing that risk.”

“With housing estates now starting to be developed, it’s time to decommission the dam. Regional Earthmoving company CPB Excavations was awarded the $220,000 tender and it’s expected they will begin work on site in mid-November. Weather-permitting the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of February.

“As part of removing the dam and draining the water, we need to humanely deal with any feral fish such as carp, while seeing if we can move any native species to a new location. There might be yellow-belly, Silver Perch, maybe even a cat-fish or a cod.”

“Local fishing supplies store, The Fishing Factory, has come on board with prizes, so we’ll be looking to run competitions for milestones such as the most fish caught or the biggest fish.”

“It will be free entry, the Lions BBQ van will be on site. Participants will have to agree to humanely put down any carp, and release native species into an aerated tank that will be on site. They can take home any red-fin or yabbies they catch.”

The dam is in Hawke Lane near the corner of Pinnacle Road.  Click here to download a map with directions to the site.  When full, the dam holds around 130 megalitres of water, and currently holds about 100 megalitres. As part of the decommissioning, water will be slowly released into a nearby farm dam, which will in turn flow downhill into other dams and a creek line, which will flow into Blackmans Swamp Creek. Eventually the water will make its way into Orange’s stormwater harvesting system.

Once the dam is empty, part of the side wall of the dam will be reshaped so that it can’t hold large amounts of water.  A spillway and stormwater pipes will be installed to ensure the dam basin remains empty. Native species and grasses will be planted to prevent erosion.

The area will have an ongoing use as a detention basin, a place where heavy run-off can temporarily flow to prevent flood damage. The dam site is outside the boundaries of the Shiralee housing area, but in future years it has the capacity to add to the area’s network of open spaces for recreation.


Hawke Lane Dam Fish-Out 

Date:  Saturday 10 November 2018

Time:  10am – 4.00pm

Location:  Hawkes Dam, near the corner of Pinnacle Road and Hawkes Lane, South Orange

Native fish caught to be relocated.  Truck and aerated tank will be on site to house native fish.

Lions food van will be on-site with refreshments for sale.

The Fishing Factory Orange are sponsoring prizes for competitions. Details will be available on the day.


  • Sonja says:

    Hi I’m just wondering whether the council has factored in any other native Australian wildlife such as Turtles etc that may need rescuing? What will happen to them?

    • Council Communications says:

      Thanks for your question. Yes, When the water is pumped out of the dam and levels are much lower, nets will be used to remove any further fish. Any more native fauna, including tortoises, will be moved to a new location.

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