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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

Water everywhere but not a drop to breathe

Latest News

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the...

Other News

New programs and plenty of tennis have flowed from tennis court upgrades in Suffolk Park

Suffolk Park Tennis is in full swing after court enhancements and the introduction of a full program since then. The...

Interview with Hayley Grace

Hayley Grace’s response to post-flood PTSD, was to look at life and healing in a different way, then come through the other side writing about it – her new single ‘Mary Jane’ is the result. Hayley and The Bay Collective, a raucous seven-piece big band – featuring a full horn section, guitar, bass, keys and percussion – will launch the song this week and play some shows to get it out there. Seven spoke to Hayley on the weekend to get her POV on The Bay Collective and recovery.

MIA: Balson on Wallum

Dear Cr Balson, I understand that you attended the Byron Council meeting last Thursday very briefly, but absented yourself from...

Affordable housing summit next week

As the affordable housing issue shows no signs of easing in the near future, key figures in the housing, property, and finance sectors will come together to tackle the country’s housing challenges at the ninth Affordable Housing Development & Investment Summit

Housing parasites

Trying to fix the housing crisis in the Byron Shire by building more houses is like trying to put...

Tried catching a bus to TAFE or work in the Northern Rivers – it’s a serious challange

Getting around the Northern Rivers is no easy task without your own transport. Young people are unable to attend TAFE, and you can’t catch public transport to work due to the impossible timing of, and lack of access to, public transport. 

As communities across Australia’s eastern states clean up after recent heavy rain and flooding, Southern Cross University researchers are testing the waters to understand what drives the de-oxygenation of rivers and estuaries that follows in the wake of flood events.

Damien Maher, a postdoctoral fellow, and Dr Isaac Santos, a senior lecturer, both with the University’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research, are investigating the effect of the latest flood event on the carbon cycle, with a particular focus on the Richmond River estuary.

‘The runoff from these flood events delivers a lot of nutrients from the catchment to the estuary and we know the potential for a fish kill is high. We’re wondering how these events influence greenhouse gas emissions from estuaries,’ Mr Maher said.

‘We want to understand how much carbon delivered to the estuary is released to the atmosphere and how much is buried and sequestered for long-term storage.

‘Like many estuaries the Richmond River catchment has significant areas of acid sulfate soils. Our preliminary findings indicate that the carbon dioxide concentrations in these waters are among the highest ever measured.’

Mr Maher said one hypothesis under investigation is that water draining from acid sulfate soils drives the de-oxygenation of estuarine water and an associated release of carbon dioxide.

‘Anecdotally fish-kill events occurred prior to development of the catchment but development has certainly exacerbated the problem. When the land was forested, water on the floodplain was retained and released slowly into the main estuary, giving organic material a long time to break down.

‘Now land clearing and the construction of extensive drain systems enable water that’s very low in oxygen to be rapidly delivered back into the river.’

Radon concentrations are also being measured. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that alerts researchers to groundwater. ‘Radon is a good groundwater tracer because it is naturally high in groundwater while being low in surface water,’ says Dr Isaac Santos, who recently brought radon technology to Australia.

‘By monitoring concentrations of radon along the estuary we will be able to determine the role of groundwater in estuarine de-oxygenation and greenhouse gas emissions.’

Their research is funded by grants by the Hermon Slade Foundation and the Australian Research Council.

Damien Maher testing water samples in the laboratory.


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NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

‘Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Essential workers were the losers at the recent Ballina Council meeting when councillors actively removed the category for ‘key workers’ from their development of rental housing on land it owns in Wollongbar.

Tried catching a bus to TAFE or work in the Northern Rivers – it’s a serious challange

Getting around the Northern Rivers is no easy task without your own transport. Young people are unable to attend TAFE, and you can’t catch public transport to work due to the impossible timing of, and lack of access to, public transport. 

Community tree planting in Mullum Feb 24

Want to help locally to care for our environment and plant trees for our wildlife?