Waterways Report on Tuggerah & Lakes estuary released

lakes reportThe testing sites in the Tuggerah lagoon system – (A is excellent, B is good, C is fair, D is poor and F is very poor)

Central Coast Council has released its 2017-18 Waterways Report Card, showing that water quality throughout the Tuggerah Lakes estuary was generally good.

There was a pocket of fair results for Budgewoi Lake and some excellent results at The Entrance, Canton Beach and Chittaway Bay. The water quality is excellent in the three southern bays of Lake Macquarie – Wyee Bay, Chain Valley Bay and Crangan Bay.

The Central Coast Waterways Report Card reports on the ecological health of southern Lake Macquarie, Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Water and coastal lagoons, using seagrass depth range, turbidity (water clarity or cloudiness) and Chlorophyll-a (algae and nutrients) as indicators of health.

It is different to the NSW State of the Beaches Report and the Beachwatch program, as they measure different things for different purposes. Council has monitored the ecological health of the Tuggerah Lakes estuary since 2011 and now monitors 16 sites throughout the estuary.

They are Lake Munmorah shore, Lake Munmorah basin, centre of Budgewoi Lake, Wallarah Creek, Lake Haven in Budgewoi Lake, Gorokan, Canton Beach, Tuggerah Lake north, Wyong River, Tuggerah Bay, Tuggerah Lake centre, The Entrance, Ourimbah Creek, Chittaway Bay, Tuggerah Lake south and Tumbi Creek.

Environment and Planning Director, Scott Cox, said the results for Tuggerah Lakes were good news overall. “Our results show most of the Tuggerah Lake zone was good, with excellent results at Canton Beach, The Entrance and Chittaway Bay, ” Cox said. “Lake Munmorah was also rated good across the system. “Ourimbah Creek, Wallarah Creek and the Budgewoi Lake sites were fair, with a range of indicators falling below trigger levels throughout the year.

“There have been some poorer results in Budgewoi Lake and some other sites where creek systems enter larger waterways, but these results allow Council to review our management actions and plan for on ground works to help improve waterway health over time. ”

It is the first year that southern Lake Macquarie has been included in the monitoring program. “Our three Lake Macquarie sites all showed excellent results for the chlorophyll-a indicators, turbidity was generally very good, although seagrass depth range varied between the sites, ” Cox said. Of the 32 sites monitored across the Coast in 2017-18, there were 24 (75 percent) graded as good or excellent, six (19 percent) were fair, one (three percent) as poor and one other graded as very poor.

Central Coast Mayor, Lisa Matthews said it was important to remember that the program looks at ecological health for the waterways. “We understand that at times our lakes look and smell in ways we don’t expect them to, and that can lead us to believe they are in poor health, ” Mayor Mathews said. “However, this program shows that for 2017-18, the health of the lakes overall was quite good.

“We still have a way to go, but these reports can help us make informed management decisions that help fix the problems at the source, ” Mayor Matthews said.

The 2017-18 Waterways Report Card also outlined actions that Council has taken to target improvements in waterway health including:

Rehabilitation of natural wetlands at Elizabeth Bay, Doyalson, Budgewoi, Toukley, Tacoma, Chittaway Bay, and Berkeley Vale; Protection and rehabilitation of coastal saltmarsh and foreshore bushland along the shores of Tuggerah Lake; Construction of new stormwater quality improvement devices at Canton Beach, Summerland Point and Mannering Park to reduce pollutant loads to the waterways; Maintenance of a network of more than 418 storm water quality improvement devices throughout the estuary catchments to improve water quality; Removal of 967 tonnes of sediment and pollutants from stormwater quality improvement devices; and, Removal of 14,855 cubic metres of excess seagrass wrack and floating algae from Tuggerah Lakes to enhance water quality and improve circulation in nearshore areas.

Environment and Planning Director, Scott Cox, said that while the report, which is compiled from ongoing monitoring and assessments, shows overall positive results, it also provided a valuable tool to Council to identify areas for further investigation.

Council’s program is delivered in partnership with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, using a scientifically robust methodology and is the most comprehensive program of its kind provided by local government in NSW.

Source: Media release, Dec 12 Website, Central Coast Waterways Report Card Central Coast Council Reporter: Sue Murray