Central Coast waterways are set to receive $70,000 funding announced by Federal Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks.
The funding is part of three different projects facilitated by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program (NLP).
Ms Wicks said the initiatives included: What’s in our Lagoons; Waterwatch Care and Connections; and, Love our Lagoon.
“The Central Coast region is blessed with some of the most beautiful coastlines and waterways in the country, which is why projects like these are so important,” Ms Wicks said.
“This funding will go a long way in improving the health of our waterways and raising community awareness, engagement and participation in the importance of protecting our natural environment,” she said.
Greater Sydney Land Services manager, Mr Bill Dixon, said What’s in our Lagoons was the first project of its kind.
“Micro plastics are tiny pieces of plastic, less than 5mm, which can end up in our waterways from the breakdown of various plastic items, including plastic fibres shed from clothing,” he said.
“This project will be delivered in partnership with Take 3 for the Sea and Macquarie University’s Litter Lab, who will develop survey kits to sample and analyse surface sediments for micro plastics, in partnership with three local high schools, one community group and two Department of Education and Communities’ Environmental Education Centre.”
Surface sediments will be sampled and analysed for micro plastics found in Terrigal, Avoca and Cockrone Lagoons on the Central Coast.
Micro-plastic survey kits will be developed as part of this project.
To date, Take 3 in partnership with Macquarie University have held two days to assess appropriate methods of accessing local lagoon systems for the monitoring of micro-plastics.
Schools and volunteer groups will be trained in how to collect micro-plastics using steel sieves, and to monitor what’s found using microscopes, and then how to record the data using a specially-developed online database called the Australian Marine Debris Database.
The Central Coast will be one of only two locations to take part in the micro-plastic citizen science pilot program along with Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Ms Wicks said Waterwatch Care and Connections aimed to build community awareness, skills, knowledge and connection to local waterways through participation in the water quality monitoring and engagement program.
A number of key waterways in the Central Coast will be involved in this Project.
This program will include events and training sessions with a focus on local waterways including Terrigal Lagoon.
The community will participate in water quality monitoring and marine debris clean-ups using the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, and will also encourage connections to four waterways through workshops with a local Aboriginal perspective.
“The $10,000 Love our Lagoon initiative also aims to build awareness, skills and knowledge in caring for and managing the natural qualities of Terrigal Lagoon, and will be delivered through the engagement of local residents, schools and community groups,” she said.
Activities will include distribution of a flyer outlining details of the Love our Lagoon Project via a letterbox drop to all local residents.
Workshops will be held on topics that include a history of Terrigal Lagoon that incorporates the Aboriginal connection, an introduction to principles of bush regeneration, a view of the lagoon from the water (kayaking tour), an introduction to water quality and marine debris monitoring, and a sustainable fishing workshop (with Fishcare volunteers).
Regular monitoring and clean-up activities will take place and volunteers will be encouraged to join existing bushcare groups through a strategic plan that will identify zones, teams and long term objectives.
A calendar of activities will be put together to help keep the local community informed of ‘What’s on’ in Terrigal and e-newsletters will be developed and distributed to local contacts.
Media release, Nov 20
Tim Sowden, office of Lucy Wicks