Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lake Mac water quality best in 20 years

Water quality in Lake Macquarie is the best it has been since annual monitoring began more than 20 years ago.

An exhaustive monitoring program undertaken monthly  throughout the 2017-2018 financial year found that all but one of seven zones across the lake and its major tributaries achieved the highest possible overall grade.

Swansea Channel, Fennell Bay, Dora Creek and the south-west, south-east and north zones all achieved an ‘A’ grading.

Cockle Creek was the only zone that did not achieve an ‘A’. However, its ‘B’ grade still marked a vast improvement on the ‘F’ posted when initially tested under the current system, in 2011-2012.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Planning and Sustainability, Alice Howe, said Council had spent millions of dollars in and around the estuary in the past seven years on projects to improve water quality, prevent erosion and improve biodiversity.

“These range from rehabilitating wetlands in Cockle Creek to installing stormwater quality improvement devices (SQIDs) in the catchment,” Dr Howe said.

“Our work with the development sector and local communities has also been critical to this achievement, as catchment runoff directly affects lake water quality.

Dr Howe said the Lake Macquarie sampling program allowed assessment of both long and short-term water quality variations.

“Long term monitoring programs are essential for tracking estuary ecological health and to identify areas requiring management,” Dr Howe said.

“This year’s result is fantastic news, but there is always more to be done. Council will continue to take measures to improve the lake environment and encourage everyone within the lake catchment to play a role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.”

Water quality report card – overall grades

2011-2012 financial year 2017-2018 financial year
North Zone B A
Swansea Channel B A
South East Zone A A
South West Zone C A
Fennell Bay C A
Dora Creek C A
Cockle Creek F B