Report card shows catchments under stress

Scientist with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, takes samples of the algal blooms found in the Karuah catchment.
Scientist with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, takes samples of the algal blooms found in the Karuah catchment.

MidCoast Council has released the 2016 Waterways and Catchment Report Card which shows that some river systems in our catchments are showing signs of stress. 

Healthy waterways are fundamental to life in our region.

Dr Peter Scanes from the NSW Department of Office Environment and Heritage leads the independent team of scientists contracted by MidCoast Council to assess the health of our waterways. 

He says "our scientists found that sites in the upper reaches of the Karuah, Myall, Coolongolook, Wang Wauk, Wallingat and Wallamba Rivers were typically in excellent health. 

"Further down these rivers, health declines with higher inputs of both nutrients and sediments leading to algae growth and stress to river bug populations.  Whilst river health is hanging in there for now, there are clear warning signs that action is required and it is great to see MidCoast Council working with the community to address this."

Council is working with landholders to reduce the unintended negative impacts of human activities on the water quality of our catchment's waterways.  Continued effort is required to improve all types of land use practices to help ensure river health.  

The role of agriculture in the health of waterways is important and Council seeks to support the agricultural industry in our region through improved farming methods that lead to sustainable growth and protection of our waterways. 

Lynne Strong, internationally recognised farmer from Clover Hill Dairies at Jamberoo, spoke at the report card release on the importance of agriculture to our economy and waterway health.

"Intensive farming with increased farm productivity can go hand in hand with waterway health.  We are all in this together and we need to engage all stakeholders and people of all ages to work effectively towards a common vision of clean air and clean water for everyone." 

Council seeks to support agricultural industries in the region to improve and enhance farming methods that will lead to sustainable growth and protection of our waterways. 

"We have put together a short fact sheet with some ideas on how to get started with improving farm profitability and waterway health.  There are also some great videos on our website showing examples of farmers in our area who are on the right track," council's catchment officer, Debbi Delaney said. 

"Council is committed to providing ongoing support to landholders who are interested in improving farm methods that also improve waterway health."

View the results in this year's report card at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/reportcard together with a fact sheet on enhancing profitability and waterway health.  You can also view our videos with stories from local farmers and find out what they are doing to improve catchment health