Fosterville Gold Mine (FGM) recognises the Campaspe River as an important river system that sustains agricultural production, recreational activities and aesthetic and biodiversity values of local, regional and national significance.
Fosterville Gold Mine first initiated aquatic surveys of the Campaspe River and the lower reaches of Axe Creek in 2011 and have continued carrying out the surveys since. The most recent survey – undertaken by third party experts in compliance with state and national standards – took place in October 2021.
The survey assessment includes:
Survey results from the 2021 survey indicate that variations in water quality, macrophytes, macro-invertebrates and aquatic fauna, were all within the range that could be experienced as a result of variation in season, climate and sampling.
The 2021 in-situ water quality results indicated no significant ecological variation between the five Campaspe River monitoring sites, which have been selected as sample points.
Axe Creek is an ephemeral watercourse and had no flows during the survey period. As a result, it returned comparatively poorer water quality results, reflective of its lack of flows and impacts from stock and other animals.
A total of 31 macrophyte species were recorded during the 2021 survey, which was comparable to other survey years.
A massive total of 1,670 macro-invertebrate specimens were collected in 2021, representing 43 families. Whilst this is an increase in the number of individuals recorded, it is a slight reduction in the number of families represented.
Aquatic fauna recorded during the Autumn 2021 survey included 5 fish, 2 crustaceans and 2 aquatic mammals (Platypus and Rakali - native water rat). Common Roach and Rakali were new species recorded for the monitoring program. The observation of Rakali shell middens consisting solely of Pea Mussel, also indicated their presence in good numbers.
Anecdotal observations of aquatic fauna abundance and diversity appeared to be moderately lower in this survey, which aligned with macro-invertebrate results. This could be due to river flow, seasonal or climate variations.
Fosterville Gold Mine will continue to regularly monitor the health of the Campaspe River in the vicinity of its operations to assess the condition of this important river system.