Increased urbanisation may put further pressure on the water quality of the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system which is already under stress; further impacts may push it past a threshold without significant additional mitigating measures. (from Draft Metropolitan Planning Strategy for Sydney)
The Colo River and many of our upland creeks are still in remarkable health. But Currency Creek through Glossodia has been turned into a chain of drained ponds due to water extraction; Bushells Lagoon and other nearby wetlands are bare of wildlife, full of carp, and are muddy and bare-banked ; and many areas of the riverbanks along the Hawkesbury are cleared and impacted by high velocity aquatic sports such as waterskiing and wakeboarding. These are areas which should be highlights of any visit to the Hawkesbury.
What can be done to restore their environments for greater connectivity and biodiversity?
There is action on the local level: Many local landholders have been aided in weed control; lower- impact sports such as fishing and canoeing have attracted increasing numbers; many households install water-tanks to supplement supply; water-quality testing is undertaken and data made publically available to record the health of our waterways. As well there is increasing protection of water quality in developments with stormwater harvesting and treatment through constructed wetlands.
You can help by joining a Streamwatch group to undertake monitoring of a creek or water body near you; or a fishing group such as Bass Sydney who undertake studies of river crossings and weed control; or Cumberland Bird Observers Club who organise trips to ideal wetland sites such as Pitt Town Lagoon where migratory birdlife is increasing since the improvements to the site. HEN wants to see an improvement in education about riverbanks and wetlands, as well as changes to local environment plans to increase their protection and restoration.
A citizen science water quality monitoring program that empowers community groups to monitor and protect the health of local waterways. Community groups get involved in Streamwatch for many reasons including:
- investigating and understanding their local catchment
- identifying local water quality issues, their source and possible solutions
- assessing water quality impacts of their environmental improvement programs
- taking local action to improve water quality and catchment health
- networking with others who have similar interests.
Water testing has been undertaken at various times over the years at Hawkesbury River, Grose River, Little Wheeny Creek, Colo River, Redbank Creek, Cattai Creek, Currency Creek, Longneck Lagoon, Pugh’s Lagoon, Roberts Creek, South Creek, and Yarramundi Lagoon.
Currently operating groups include HEN Redbank Creek Group, Little Wheeny Creek Streamwatch Group, and Colo River group.
Data is only available by contacting the Australian Museum Streamwatch Co-ordinators. Link here http://www.streamwatch.org.au/cms/get_involved/ or you can contact the Museum outreach Unit on:
The Australian Museum on 02 9320 6422 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawkesbury-Nepean River Watch
Hawkesbury-Nepean River Watch is an initiative of University of Western Sydney (UWS) with other educational institutions which created HaRWEST. Hawkesbury-Nepean River Watch Education and Sustainability Tools, or HaRWEST, aims to connect scientific water quality data, educational river information and personal water stories to the communities of the Hawkesbury-Nepean. By sharing river knowledge and narratives it is our hope that we can better work together to promote and protect the waterways of the Hawkesbury-Nepean.
“Many river systems across NSW are at crisis point, and few are undamaged by development, particularly agriculture and urban water demand. There simply isn’t enough water remaining in the State’s river systems to keep them healthy if the pace and style of development continues without effective, sustainable management. Submission http://canoe.org.au/2002/06/05/environment-being-sold-down-the-rivers/ 2002