The Action Plan for Australian freshwater fishes
Species recovery outline: Swan Galaxias
Scientific name: Galaxias fontanus
English name: Swan Galaxias
Species taxonomic status: Formally described by Fulton, 1978.
Species survival status: Distribution severely reduced through interactions with introduced brown trout. Remaining populations may be threatened due to habitat degradation.
- Action plan status: Endangered.
- Australian Society for Fish Biology status: Endangered.
- Proposed new IUCN criteria status: Critical (interaction with introduced species, altered habitat).
Former distribution: Eastern Tasmania. Precise distribution unknown. Possibly occurred throughout the streams listed below and other streams in the Swan and Macquarie River drainages.
Current distribution: Restricted to the Swan and Macquarie River drainages. Only occur in the following streams:
- A small, steep, ephemeral tributary of the Swan River above Hardings Falls.
- Brodribb Creek: 3 km of stream in the headwaters immediately south of Kalangadoo.
- Blue Tier Creek: approximately 4 km of stream in the headwaters upstream from about the junction of Blue Tier Creek with Sleepy Creek.
- Tater Garden Creek: approximately 2 km of stream in the headwaters of the small eastern branch of the Creek.
- Parramores Creek in the headwaters upstream from the Long Marsh Road.
Habitat: The Swan Galaxias inhabits slow to moderately fast flowing streams in dry scrub country. Individuals collect around log debris in rocky pools or shallow stream margins. Juveniles often school in open water. This species cannot co-exist with brown trout (Salmo trutta).
Reasons for decline:
- Interaction with introduced brown trout. Schooling juveniles are thought to be especially vulnerable to predation. Known populations are isolated from the effects of brown trout by natural barriers to fish movement. These range from completely effective (provided no human interference occurs) to relatively insecure.
- Alteration of habitat due to forestry operations (on both public and private land) within the catchment of streams containing known populations.
Conservation reserves on which species occurs:
- Hardings Falls Forest Reserve (Forestry Commission)
- Stream side reserve on Brodribb Creek (through private property).
Other public lands on which species occurs:
- Blue Tier Creek (Forestry Commission).
- Parramores Creek (Forestry Commission).
Other land on which species occurs:
- Tater Garden Creek (private grazing/forestry land).
Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately? (If not provide list of additional studies required): Yes.
- Proclamation of additional conservation reserves.
- Establishment of additional reproducing populations.
- Exclusion or eradication of trout from all populations.
Management actions already initiated:
- Nomination for the declaration of Wildlife Priority Areas including the headwaters of the following streams and their catchments: Swan River above Hardings Falls; Brodribb Creek; Parramores Creek upstream of Long Marsh Road; Blue Tier Creek upstream from the junction with and including Sleepy Creek; Tater Garden Creek (small eastern branch).
- Rivers and Water Supply Commission have agreed to consult with the Inland Fisheries Commission on all proposals to impound the Swan River above Hardings Falls.
- The effectiveness of the cascade providing a natural barrier to trout movement on Blue Tier Creek has been increased by raising its height.
- A population of 60 adult fish have been transferred to the extreme headwaters of Blue Tier Creek. It is likely that a natural population existed in this section of the Creek but suffered a local extinction due to drought or other natural occurrence.
- Numerous streams in the vicinity of the known populations are considered suitable for the establishment of breeding populations. The most significant of these appear to be the upper Apsley River and the upper Douglas River. These sites require investigation.
- Two populations have been translocated to Dukes River and Lost Falls Creek. Both populations spawned successfully in 1991.
Management actions required:
- Declaration of additional conservation reserves: Yes.
- Extend the Hardings Falls Forest Reserve to include headwaters of the Swan River or proclaim this same area as an Endangered Species Reserve. (Plans drafted by the Inland Fisheries Commission.)
- Proceed with declaration of Wildlife Priority Areas.
- Habitat management: Yes.
- Active promotion of habitat protection measures including Wildlife Priority Areas and Crown Reserves.
- Proposed impoundment on the Swan River should be actively opposed.
- Sale of Brodribb Creek Crown Reserve should be actively opposed.
- Where necessary, the barriers to upstream trout movement should be made more effective.
- Feral animal control: Yes.
- If trout are found above any of the barriers then steps should be taken to remove the trout from the streams.
- Translocation or re-establishment of populations: Yes.
- Breeding populations should be re-established or translocated into suitable streams. Surveys are required to define suitable sites. Re-established or translocated populations require monitoring to establish their success.
- Captive breeding: Develop techniques while sufficient wild populations exist.
- Other: Education of anglers and public of the importance of the trout free status of these areas.
Organisations responsible for conservation of species:
- Inland Fisheries Commission
Other organisations or individuals involved:
- Forestry Commission.
- Rivers and Water Supply Commission.
- Department of Environment and Land Management.
Can recovery plan be carried out with existing resources?: No.
- Re-establishment or translocation of additional populations, including survey and assessment of suitable sites.One biologist and one technician for eight weeks – $11 760, car hire and camping allowance – $6 800.
- Development of captive breeding techniques.One biologist for 12 weeks each year for two years – $20 880.
- Cost of on-going annual monitoring of this species would be included in an annual program to monitor Swan Galaxias, Clarence Galaxias, Swamp Galaxias, Saddled Galaxias and Dwarf Galaxias. This would involve approximately four weeks field work and two weeks for documenting results. Costs would include one biologist and one technician – $8 820, car hire – $1 400, and camping allowance – $2 000. Total cost of monitoring program would be $12 220. Annual funding required for monitoring of this species would be $2 440. Additional funding may be required for removal and/or exclusion of trout depending on the monitoring results.
Total: $39 440
Annual Monitoring $2 440