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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Mixed report for Tweed River health

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New water assessments have found varying results in the health of the Tweed River. Photo supplied.
New water assessments have found varying results in the health of the Tweed River. Photo supplied.

Variations in the health of the Tweed River have been found during a four year study of the river.

Tween council’s waterways program leader, Tom Alletson, said ‘Down towards the river mouth, the lower estuary is a healthy and well-functioning ecosystem and gets an ‘A’ for water quality compliance. In contrast, the Rous River and creeks feeding the broad waters have poorer water quality.’

The council commissioned study conducted between 2012 and 2016 examined compliance with aquatic ecosystem protection targets for the Tweed River and Terranora-Cobaki Broadwaters.

‘Water samples were collected monthly at approximately 30 sites, from the river mouth to Murwillumbah, up the Rous River to Kynnumboon, and from Boyd’s Bay up into the breakwaters,’ Mr Alletson said.

Degradation of small streams and the quality of runoff from developed land in the upper catchment has a negative impact on water quality downstream while the water in the lower estuary is highly influenced by the ocean during daily tides.

This study ‘will complement last year’s survey of community values and uses of the river. Together, they will ensure a broad range of management actions can be devised and implemented through the new river management plan,’ continued Mr Alletson.

The Water Quality Assessment includes strategies to improve water quality in the Tweed River estuary over time, and increase public awareness of the issues.

Actions to be considered for inclusion in the management plan include:

  •  Working with floodplain land owners to improve the quality of water in agricultural drains
  •  Reducing the discharge of nutrients from the Murwillumbah Wastewater Treatment Plant into the Rous River
  •  Community education about high-risk times for swimming because of water quality
  •  Restricting stock access to river banks throughout the whole Tweed River catchment
  •  Revegetation of river banks, particularly in the Rous River

To read the full reports or for further information, click here.

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