Citizen science at work in Mannering Park

Participants being briefed in a previous seagrass survey on Lake Macquarie

A citizen science day to investigate the impacts of power stations thermal pollution on seagrass in Lake Macquarie will be held at Mannering Park on Saturday, August 6.

This is an event run by Hunter Community Environment Centre and postponed from early July because of the heavy rain and resulting turbidity in the lake.

“We need the help of citizen scientists to complete an inaugural seagrass survey and launch a seasonal seagrass monitoring project to track thermal pollution impacts in Wyee and Myuna bays,” Centre co-ordinator, Jo Lynch said.

“The effects of thermal pollution on marine ecosystems are well-documented and the adverse effects of both Lake Macquarie power stations (Vales Point and Eraring) include altered seagrass assemblages and reduced seagrass cover near to the thermal outlets.

“Vales Point, due to the more enclosed receiving waters, has had the greatest impact.”

Lynch said that in October 2021 the Environment Protection Authority reduced allowable discharge temperatures from 38.5C to 35C due to the almost complete loss of seagrass from Wyee Bay.

“We estimate that since 2001 about 50ha of seagrass has been lost from Wyee Bay and about 15ha from Myuna Bay, however, historical losses could be much greater,” she said.

“The comprehensive restoration of affected seagrass beds is of significance to the future productivity and health of the lake ecosystem, with seagrass providing a reliable carbon store, fish  breeding grounds and habitat, shoreline stabilisation and anti-acidification effects.

“We look forward to working with the wider community to ensure seagrass rehabilitation is on the agenda of Origin Energy and Delta Electricity, as the question of environmental rehabilitation requirements and planning is being posed with more urgency,” Lynch said.

Participants in the seagrass survey will meet at Mannering Park boat ramp on August 6, starting at 9.30am to 5pm.

To register for the event go to the Hunter Community Environment Centre facebook page or phone 02 4962 5316.

Source:

Hunter Community Environment Centre

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