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In the late 1970’s the Dandenong Valley Authority (DVA) took responsibility for Cardinia Creek. In the early 1980’s they constructed a large concrete structure to manage erosion problems. This structure incorporated a 42 meter galvanised chute to manage normal flows while high flows passed over a concrete spill way. At this time further small erosion control structures were also constructed downstream.

In 2005 Melbourne Water undertook studies which found these structures were failing and  preventing fish from swimming freely within the creek.

Works to improve these structures were undertaken including:
•    shortening and replacing the galvanised chute with a rock-ramp fishway
•    replacement of the downstream erosion controls to enable fish to swim up and downstream

Unfortunately the smaller downstream structures were damaged by a flood event and required further rock stabilisation.

Project Objectives

The ‘Cardinia Creek Fishway Project’ was initiated by Melbourne Water in collaboration with Alluvium, Kingfisher Research, and Greenworks .

This multiple stage project aimed to reinvigorate the erosion control works downstream of the main structure and to encourage fish movement in the area.

The project will:

  • Construct 480m of fishways
  • Construct 6 resting pools
  • Plant over 4000 trees, grasses and shrubs

Benefit to the community

Along with encouraging fish to swim freely the rock works will stabilise the banks of the creek. This will make the area safe and more accessible for the broader community to enjoy. 

The revegetation works will encourage a range of fauna to frequent the area making it a destination to be enjoyed by all.

Proposed timings

  • Stage One of the project commenced in January 2017 with bank stabilisation works and some minor initial revegetation works.
  • Stage Two commenced in  December 2017 with path restoration and bank stabilisation works. In January 2018 works on the fishways  were commenced these were completed by the end of May in 2018.  Revegetation work was started in June 2018 and will continue to the end of 2020.


  • WINNER, Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) Earth Awards 
  • State Category - Project Value 1: Up to $2 Million

The earth awards judges reviewed a wide-ranging spectrum of project distinction, innovation and practicality throughout three main competitive judging criteria. These are construction excellence, environmental sustainability and project management.  

See full details see 2018 CCF Victoria Earth Awards – Winners and Finalists

For more information

If you have any questions please contact Melbourne Water on:


Last updated:
2 November 2018