Central Coast Council’s $7 million investment in the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary over the past financial year is paying off, with three areas achieving improved water quality in the past 12 months.
The annual Report Card on the ecological health of the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary shows that Lake Munmorah, Tuggerah Lake North and Tuggerah Lake Central have all gone up a grade, from C to B, due to an improvement in water quality.
Ratings are graded from A to E, with A being excellent and E being very poor.
Council’s Section Manager of Waterways and Coastal, Mr Ben Fullagar, said council had spent close to $30 million on the estuary over the past eight years, had worked hard to improve and restore important areas in the catchment area, and the results are starting to show.
“In the past 12 months council has installed 14 new gross pollutant traps in urban areas, removed 1250 tonnes of pollutants from stormwater treatment devices, collected 200 tonnes of litter, dredged 60,000 cubic metres of sand from The Entrance channel to maintain connection with ocean, removed 10,500 cubic metres of seagrass wrack from nearshore areas and installed new recreational facilities at a number of locations,” Mr Fullagar said.
“We are investing in the health of the stunning Tuggerah Lakes Estuary catchment area and have done work on river banks, natural wetlands and foreshore vegetation communities.”
Council has been producing annual report cards on the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary since 2012 in an effort to determine whether the health of the estuary is improving, declining or remaining stable.
The annual report cards are a summary of the ecological health of the estuary and are the result of scientists from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) collecting and analysing water quality data.
Council’s Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, said while council is investing a lot of time and money into making the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary cleaner, everyone could play a role in keeping the lakes clean.
“The Lakes are one of our best natural assets and we want to keep it that way,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Every time you wash your car on pavement, all of those chemicals end up in the lake. Fertiliser used for people’s lawns make their own lawn look good, but they also end up in the lake and create algae blooms.
“Healthy estuaries have low levels of microalgae and that is what we want to see.
“This is why we are focused on improving the lakes, but everyone has a role to play.”
Residents can do simple things to help keep their patch healthy:
Wash cars on grass or at a car wash. This reduces the amount of chemicals and detergent entering the stormwater system.
Build a rain garden or install a rainwater tank to capture and reuse runoff from rooftops and hardstand areas.
Put litter, pet droppings and garden waste in the bin. This stops pollution before it occurs and keeps waterways and foreshores clean and tidy.
Use less fertiliser or grow a native garden which doesn’t need much fertiliser.
Keep to formed walking trails and boat ramps to minimise your impact.
Report environmental vandalism to Council.
$1 million of the funds invested in the area over the past 12 months came from a National Landcare grant and helped council to do bush regeneration at Long Jetty, reconstruct beaches at Lake Munmorah, Canton and Long Jetty, install stormwater treatment devices at Long Jetty, Tuggerawong and Berkeley Vale, rehabilitate streambank in Wyong River, rehabilitate saltmarsh at Killarney Vale, upgrade wrack infrastructure at Canton Beach, remediate foreshore at The Entrance and investigate black ooze at hotspots throughout the estuary.
The Lakes will take centre stage from 12 November when the Wyong Lakes Festival kicks off.