Marine Water Quality Program Completes its Third Year

North Coast Local Land Services has completed the third year of a program to prevent sediment and nutrients from entering the Richmond River from the Emigrant Creek Catchment area.

This Marine Estate Management Strategy Project aims to improve water quality through three main activities; road sealing, stabilisation and regeneration of banks and revegetation of Big Scrub Rainforest.

Strong partnerships with Ballina Shire Council, Soil Conservation Service, Big Scrub Regeneration and local primary producers have led to a reduction in excessive sediment and nutrient impacting the Richmond River and entering the Marine Estate.

Shaun Morris, Senior Land Services Officer with North Coast Local Land Services said the results have been encouraging.

“By transforming 11km of dirt roads next to priority waterways into hard sealed surfaces, not only have we assisted aquatic habitats downstream but improved the safety and access for local road users,” Shaun said.

“The Ballina Shire Councils road works alone have permanently prevented 1500 tonnes of sediment moving downstream into the Marine Estate during each major flood event.”

Over the past three years, erosion control works have completed more than 2.3km of bank stabilisation and habitat enhancing structures, preventing over 1300 tonnes of sediment from entering the Richmond River Estuary per major flood event.

“Works have included installing over 100 snag hotels. These instream structures deflect wave wash and will benefit a range of aquatic organisms while enhancing recreational fishing opportunities in Emigrant Creek Estuary.” Shaun said.

The project also includes monitoring riparian works and a boat wash deflecting log fillet structure. The log fillet structure protects a newly formed mangrove nursery and actively captures sediment transported from upstream sources which nourishes our baby mangroves and stores blue carbon deposits.

The total investment in the program has been approximately $4.25M with a sizeable in-kind contribution from Ballina Shire Council and significant contributions from landholders. The project has prevented over 2800 tonnes of sediment from entering sensitive downstream aquatic habitats within the Marine Estate over the past three years.

These works are part of the North Coast Local Land Services NSW Government funded Marine Estate Management Strategy project to improve water quality entering Richmond River Estuary.

Image Caption: 1 of 100 snag hotels installed in Emigrant and Maguires CreekSnag Hotel

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