Waterways report detail to be used in Coastal Management Program

A: Excellent, B: Good, C: Fair, D: Poor, F: Very Poor

Tuggerah Lakes is in pretty good shape according to the 2019-20 Waterways Report Card, released by Central Coast Council on Tuesday, April 13.

The report examines the ecological health of southern Lake Macquarie, Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Water, the lower Hawkesbury River and the larger coastal lagoons over the 2019-20 year, providing a clear picture of the health of the estuarine waterways.

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

“Council uses a recognised monitoring program to assess the ecological health of our waterways, allowing us to monitor their condition, track changes over time and target investment and on ground works to improve ecosystem health,” Cox said.

“For the 2019-20 year we have seen good or excellent results at 64 percent of sites, including all of the southern Lake Macquarie sites, Cockrone Lagoon, Lake Munmorah and the majority of sites in Tuggerah Lake, Brisbane Water and the Lower Hawkesbury.

“Other sites that have shown a mix of fair to poor results include Budgewoi Lake, Wamberal, Terrigal and Avoca lagoons, and some other sites where creek systems enter larger waterways.

“These results will allow Council to review our management actions and plan for on ground works to help improve waterway health over time.

“It is important to remember that this program looks at ecological health for the waterways.

“While some of our waterways at times, look and smell in ways we don’t expect them to, this is not always an indicator of poor health.

“The program has shown that for 2019-20, the overall health of Tuggerah Lakes for example 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.”

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

Council Administrator, Dick Persson, announced the release of the Report Card which coincides with the first round of engagement for Council’s Coastal Management Programs.

“We value how much our community care for their local waterways, and we want as many people as possible to take part in the engagement activities for the suite of Coastal Management Programs we have to develop for our region,” Persson said.

“This process provides a great opportunity for Council to work with our community in formulating these new plans, identifying priorities and together working towards a better future for our beautiful coast and waterways.

“The information provided will go towards the development of four Coastal Management Programs we are developing, either on our own or in partnership with other local councils.

“The process is set out by the NSW Government, and it will take some time, however this first round of engagement aims to understand what our community values about these important waterways and how they use them.

“Members of the community will also be invited to sign up to take part in focus groups and other workshops that will take place throughout the whole process.

“I understand that the community may feel that this is just another plan or strategy, but as we have seen with the erosion issue at Wamberal, certified coastal management plans open the door for action and funding into the future.

“We need to follow the process and get the right actions into these plans for the future.

“I would encourage everyone on the Central Coast, even those living in areas that seem far disconnected from the coastal zone, to take part in this survey so that we may understand what all waterways on the Central Coast mean to you.”

To view the report card, visit centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/waterwayhealth

To have your say and sign up to be involved in the Our Coast, Our Waterways program visit yourvoiceourcoast.com/waterways

Media release, Apr 13
Central Coast Council