Members of the community group Save Our Macleay River (SOMR) are voicing their concerns about the health and future of vital waterways in the region.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has reported runoff from bushfire and drought affected areas can impact water quality and the river's inhabitants.
The estimated numbers associated with the Macleay fish death event to date, remain in the hundreds of thousands.
Resident and spokesperson from the SOMR, Arthur Bain said fish kills often happen after bushfires, however this time it was due to the unprecedented scale of the fires and the impact on the river.
"Indigenous elders and farming families that have lived here for generations have never seen anything like this," he said.
Mr Bain witnessed a major fish kill on January 11 on the Macleay River at Bellbrook bridge.
"Down at the river there were hundreds of fish; bass, mullet, bull routs, even eels gasping on the riverbank and dying," he said.
Some local residents, Mr Bain said established a pump at the site to supply fish with oxygenated water.
"Where the spray was hitting the water, it was thick with fish and eels seeking respite from the oxygen depleted water," he said.
Charles Sturt University Professor Max Finlayson said waterways should be a priority after bushfires, as part of ecological recovery strategy.
Professor Finlayson co-authored paper to highlight the dangers of Australia's recent bushfire crisis turning into a waterway crisis.
The paper outlines fire-affected areas are susceptible to erosion so heavy rain could wash sediment, ash, and nutrients into waterways.
The result is potential algal blooms, problems for urban water supplies, and fish kills.
Professor Finlayson said investing in water supplies and quality benefits human health and reduces economic loss.
He said quick reaction will ensure the bushfire crisis does not become a waterways crisis.
"There are short-term, medium-term and long-term considerations for post-fire recovery," he said.
"State and Commonwealth governments need to use past experiences and the information gathered during this crisis to design and co-ordinate recovery programs, to ensure the longevity of our waterways after bushfires."
Mr Bain said oxygen depletion had impacted about 60km of river, from Georges Junction to just west of Toorooka.
Mr Bain is calling for the waterways to be treated with more respect.
"We need to manage fires more effectively, by burning in the cooler months and learning from indigenous knowledge," he said.
"We need to address the underlying cause, which is accelerated climate change driven by global warming."
Mr Bain said scientists have warned it's led to more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, fires and floods.
The SOMR group is appealing for assistance to help fund a water testing kit to give immediate results about potential pollution.
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