IT was once a lush swimming hole with clear water and enough depth to jump from the Morisset St Bridge.
And soon the section of lower Queanbeyan River by the mouth of Buttles Creek will run deep and clear again after excavators moved in earlier this week to dredge out years of built-up river silt and refuse.
The dredging project is expected to take several weeks and cost between $25,000 and $30,000.
Council environment manager Natasha Abbott said storm water washing down Buttles Creek had eroded the banks and pushed silt into the river bed.
“The amount of silt which has washed down and created sand bars has made the river shallow and reeds have started to reclaim the river as land. This needs to be cleared to assist nature in moving the sediment, deepening the river bed and creating some holes for fish habitat,” Mrs Abbott said.
“This area was once known as a “swimming hole” and now you can practically walk across it without getting your knees wet,” she said.
Work is being undertaken with a NSW Fisheries permit and work crews have committed to preserve as much native vegetation as possible.
“Although there will be some short term disturbance, dredging the river in this section will have long term benefits for the environment and improve recreational accessibility and overall amenity.
“It’s basically about freeing the river to flow again,” Mrs Abbott said.
Local Landcare representative and Council Environment Committee member Tom Baker said he was pleased to see the project go ahead.
“This is now the 12th year of implementing the river plan and all the willows were removed last year, so in my view Council has been totally committed to fixing the river corridor, and now there’s this work to ensure the habitat is being enhanced as well.”