Survey reveals Hunter’s sick rivers

ABC Online
1 Feb 2011

A survey of the Hunter’s waterways has revealed the health of some is so poor they could be at risk of dying completely.

The Catchment Management Authority’s recent Waterwatch Survey recorded high phosphorus levels at two-thirds of the 200 rivers and creeks that were monitored in the Upper and Lower Hunter.

At some sites the readings were so high, there is concern the waterways could be strangled by aquatic weed infestations or seriously affected by algal blooms.

Waterwatch Co-ordinator, Amanda Gregory says people need to be careful they do not make the problem worse.

“I guess the whole community is exacerbating the problem,” she said.

“There’s even small actions that people take like not picking up their dog poo, actually affects the amount of phosphorus in the water.

“There’s also illegal discharge and stormwater pollution as well as farming that can be causing the problem.”

Ms Gregory says the current warm weather could trigger problems for the waterways.

“With the warmer weather and high nutrient levels, that’s a perfect environment for algal blooms and aquatic weed blooms which basically can strangle waterways and then cause the oxygen levels to decrease as they die.

“So basically you end up with dead waterways.”

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