Taree council big swamp project goes national

Greater Taree City Council recently presented the results of the highly successful Big Swamp Project at the fourth National Acid Sulfate Soil Conference in Perth. 

The aim of the Big Swamp Project is to improve the water quality within the lower Manning River estuary by remediating an acid sulfate soil 'hot spot' at Big Swamp, just east of Moorland.

The three-year project has resulted in the acquisition of approximately 700 hectares of low-lying farmland affected by acid sulfate soils, in addition to a comprehensive study to guide the restoration of the site. 

Restoration activities have included extensive drain modification works to re-wet the landscape and introduce tidal flows. 

This action will reduce the amount of acid runoff entering the river, helping to re-establish both saltwater and freshwater wetlands, with improvements in water quality already evident.

The presentation of the project’s achievements at the conference was well received and drew substantial interest amongst those who attended. 

“Greater Taree City Council was commended as leaders in the field by keynote speakers at the event,” said David Hopper, environmental project co-ordinator.  

“It was great to be able to share what we have achieved so far, and it will be exciting to watch the water quality in the Manning River continue to improve as the project evolves.” 

The project’s success to date has been made possible with funding provided through the federal government’s 'Caring for our Country' initiative, the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority's partnership program, and the NSW Fish Habitat Action Program in partnership with the Water Research Laboratory (University of NSW). 

While funding is the key to any project’s success, so is community involvement and support.

Council would like to thank the Manning River Oyster Growers’ Association and the Farquhar Inlet Management Group, who provided sponsorship which enabled David to travel to Perth and present his paper at the conference.

Local landholders, councillors, government funding bodies and environmental staff from neighbouring councils will be given the opportunity to view the outstanding results of the project at an open day to be held at Big Swamp later this month.