2014 SEQ Healthy Waterways Report Card is released

2014 SEQ Healthy Waterways Report Card is released

29.10.2014 - Posted by Steve Skull
The Healthy Waterways Partnership launched the 2014 South East Queensland waterway Report Card last week (http://healthywaterways.org/report-card). Produced annually, the Report Card provides an insight for the South East Queensland community on the current health of their waterways and estuaries. Each freshwater, estuarine and marine system gets allocated an ecosystem health grade (A to F; Excellent to Fail) based on the results of a detailed Environmental Health Monitoring Program (EHMP).

Healthy Waterways Report Card is online and interactive

Notably, the main water supply catchment for Brisbane (the mid-Brisbane catchment) received an F (fail) grade, and not for the first time. This reflects the current poor condition of many of the streams in this catchment, caused by extensive river bank erosion, poorly managed run-off form urban development and agricultural inputs. In the 2013 floods, the Mount Crosby treatment plant nearly closed because of high sediment loads entering the system, causing major water supply disruptions and meaning Brisbane residents were facing water shortages. It is hoped the 2014 Report Card grades will drive an increase in investment into restoration works in the mid-Brisbane catchment and other identified priority areas.

But it is not all grim. There are several responses currently underway to improve catchment management planning and governance in South East Queensland. These include the SEQ Council of Mayors helping to establish a Resilient Rivers taskforce to coordinate the planning, funding and delivery of projects aimed at reducing sediment entering the system across the 19 Report Card catchments; and the Queensland Government’s plan to establish a Brisbane River Improvement Trust.

And importantly, next year’s Report Card will build both social and economic indicators into the reporting process, to highlight the many benefits a healthy waterway can provide to a community.