To achieve their environmental badge, the Huonville scouts have been helping out at Huon Aquaculture’s new Forest Home hatchery located near Judbury. Their work has assisted Huon in the environmental management of the site through riverbank and roadside rehabilitation which will improve the biodiversity and amenity of the farmland surrounding the new facility.
A hatchery is where is all begins for Huon salmon, providing vital support for their growth through the first stages of the life cycle. Huon’s Forest Home Hatchery is a state-of-the-art facility with zero discharge and world class water and waste management practices.
The scouts need to conduct 30 hours of environmental work to achieve the badge and with plenty to do at Forest Home Huon welcomed the chance to partner with the group. The scouts took part in weed identification as well as the identification of tree and shrub species to improve the site, with a focus on using species endemic to the Huon Valley.
This led to the planting of seven species of trees and shrubs including larger Blue/Black and White Gums planted along the river’s edge to match the local trees. One of the species known to move through the area is the endangered Swift Parrot and the scouts have chosen trees which the birds are known to feed from in order to help support a new habitat for them.
The scouts have also looked at trying to limit the visual and noise impact of the new facility on the site neighbours and have planted several hundred trees between the roadside and the new hatchery to help break the view in the future. Although the hatchery is a low impact green colour to blend into the surrounds, the scouts hope that the Blackwood and Paperbark trees planted here will not only provide native animal habitat but help to further reduce any visual impact to the community.
On their most recent visit, the scouts were able to plant 150 plus trees across three areas of the site and finish in time for lunch, bringing the total of new trees planted onsite by them at around 300.
This impressive effort meant that tree planting was completed ahead of schedule the scouts were able to don the appropriate safety attire and enter the new hatchery for a quick peek at the 1.8 million Atlantic salmon eggs within. Much to the delight of the kids they also were able to see the day old fry scattered amongst the eggs, these are the first fry for the facility and the kids where the first people to see them.
It is hoped that during their next visit the group will plant several hundred native grasses around the site entry to try and improve the look of the area. Then during the summer they will look at collecting some seeds from trees onsite to try to grow into little seedlings to be planted out next winter.
Huon hopes to keep the scouts involved with the site, including organising for them to view the whole process of salmon eggs hatching to smolt, when they are ready to go to sea. You never know, these scouts might be the future leaders of Huon Aquaculture!