The 2017 Healthy Land and Water Report Card has revealed the Redlands area has held its C+ (fair) rating for the overall environmental condition of its catchments.
The Healthy Land and Water Monitoring Program – which delivers a regional assessment of the environmental condition and benefits of waterways throughout south-east Queensland – launched its annual report card this morning.
The Waterway Benefit Rating for the Redlands also remained stable at 3.5 stars (out of 5), indicating that the community received high social and economic benefits from their waterways.
Speaking from the central report card launch, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the City’s result mirrored that of Council’s own recently released 2017 Redlands Waterways Recovery Report and was pleasing considering the continuation of last year’s very dry conditions.
“In 2016 Redland’s rainfall, at 859 millimeters, was well below the long term annual average of 1250mm,” Cr Williams said.
“We know that our creeks experience low oxygen and higher nutrient levels during periods of dry weather, but despite this we only saw a slight decrease in overall conditions due to low flow and low water levels – not enough to affect our overall rating.
“Council’s nine years of ongoing extensive local water quality monitoring has also shown us that these creeks bounce back and improve during average and above average rainfall years.
“This year water quality remained excellent in our Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Bay areas with seagrasses in the Central and Eastern Bay continuing to improve.”
Cr Williams attributed the result to ongoing local action by Council and in collaboration with the community.
“During the 2016/2017 financial year Council’s parks and conservation team has planted more than 80,000 native trees, including around 23,000 – covering 11,493 square metres – in riparian zones. Our wonderful Bushcare groups contributed massively by planting an additional 10,000 native plants and trail care days, held in partnership with the Mountain Bike Trails Group, helped to ensure the least possible impact on drainage lines in local bushland reserves.”
“Council officers also controlled declared weeds across 45 sites and removed 110m3 of litter from five litter runs after significant rain events, reducing litter and pollutants entering local streams,” Cr Williams said.
“We continue to have work to do with pollution issues in some waterways. As with similar urbanised areas, mud from construction sites adversely affects our waterways. To address this, Council’s Development Control Unit inspected more than 1,700 sites last financial year and has been working collaboratively across the sector to deliver industry demonstration days on erosion and sediment control.
“And of course storm water management continues to be a key priority, with Council maintaining $2.5 million in storm water devices to prevent litter, sediment and organic matter entering waterways.”
Cr Williams stressed that it was not all about the Redlands.
“The problems facing our waterways don’t stop when they reach the next city’s border and no organisation or council area can work in isolation to solve these issues. Regional collaboration, as we see through our membership in Healthy Land and Water and the Council of Mayors’ Resilient Rivers Initiative, is a vital tool in protecting our environment,” she said.
Council has recently had some encouraging results following a partnership project with Catchment Solutions last year, when a relic weir at Hilliards Creek was retrofitted as a fish ladder or ‘fishway’ to improve conditions for native fish over introduced pest fish.
“Recent monitoring has shown the fishway to be successful, with a wide range of fish species, size classes and life-stages able to ascend the fishway. On average 178 fish per day were recorded migrating through the fishway, with eight native species being captured, Cr Williams said.
Redland City Council’s 2017 Waterways Recovery Report is available online at www.redland.qld.gov.au.