Improving river water quality

ACID soil restoration, weed and feral animal control combined with hydrology works is on Greater Taree City Council's list of things to do in Coralville.

It will purchase three properties on Coralville Road from landowners Diana McKenzie, Marijuan Vukovinski and Daphne Simpson and John Palmer as part of its Big Swamp Cattai Wetlands project.

Council will pay for the land acquisitions using its 2011 funding allocation of $2 million from the federal government's Caring for Our Country (CFOC) program. Council allocated $1.2 million for the purpose of land acquisition of private land owned by 15 different landowners in the 2000 hectares that make up the Big Swamp Cattai Wetlands.

The decision to purchase the three properties was made at council's meeting on January 22 and followed extensive consultation the landholders.

It further develops council's landholdings within the boundaries of the wetlands as it purchased a property in December 2012 and a second property in March 2013. The three properties on Coralville Road adjoin the land purchased by council in December 2012.

According to the corporate services report presented to the meeting of council, "the acquisition of the three subject properties is considered good value for money" and "is considered critical to the long-term success of the Big Swamp project." The value for money "was determined through a comparison of the per hectare rates returned in market valuation papers. The level of benefit that each portion of land could contribute to achieving the overall project aim to improve the water quality of the Manning River was also considered."

No budget implications

"The acquisition of land will have no immediate budget implications for council", according to the report, as CFOC and Hunter Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) funding has been allocated to the project.

"CMA funding will be used to undertake a range of management actions including the erection of boundary fencing, removal of internal fencing, weed and feral animal control and works to restore the site's natural hydrology. However, "additional funding will be required to meet the ongoing maintenance costs".

The compulsory acquisition by agreement process under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 will enable council to continue the implementation of the Big Swamp Cattai Wetlands project and improve water quality conditions within Cattai Creek affected by acid soil. The aim of the project is to contribute to the improvement of water quality of the Manning estuary by restoring acid soil.

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