30 July, 2020
Toxicity an ongoing battle for the Nogoa system
A assessment of the health of our region's waterways produces mixed results
A recent assessment of the health of Central Highlands waterways has returned mixed results.
The overall health of Fitzroy Basin waterways has slightly improved, from a high C the previous year, to a low B grade for 2018-19, in the latest report card released today by Fitzroy Partnership for River Health.
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health Executive Officer Dr Leigh Stitz said the region’s ninth annual Fitzroy Partnership for River Health Report Card presents the findings of 12 months of water monitoring data collected by partners from across the basin.
"In 2018-19 the condition scores of Callide, Connors, Lower Dawson, Upper Dawson, Nogoa, Theresa and the Estuary increased, and the Comet, Fitzroy, Mackenzie, Lower Isaac and Upper Isaac slightly decreased,” Dr Stitz said.
"With Callide the toxicants scored a little owner and with the Nogoa as well but the Nogoa is tricky as we only have one site in that region.
“We want to increase the monitoring across the Nogoa River region so the confidence in that data from the science panel isn’t as high as it could be in the Nogoa anda Gian toxicants are a little higher than water quality objectives and guidelines.
“This slight improvement can be partly attributed to low rainfall conditions in the majority of the catchments, which results in sediment and nutrients remaining on ground, and not flowing into our waterways and impacting water quality.
“Over the past nine years, the aquatic ecosystem health of the basin has remained relatively consistent, showcasing that despite it being a busy, working catchment, the Fitzroy Basin is quite resilient.”
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health Independent Science Panel Chair, Dr. Eva Abal said overall, the region had lower than average rainfall and many catchments remain in drought conditions.
“Maintaining high groundcover should be a priority for all land users, to ensure the catchments are not as impacted by high rainfall events in future,” Dr Abal said.
“The amount, duration and intensity of rainfall, impacts directly on water quality and ecology as rainfall is a natural climatic driver.
Dr Abal added that due to concerns with an absence of data in some areas in previous years, the independent science panel has developed a rating system to provide an indication of how confident the Fitzroy Partnership for Rural Health is that the report card grades reflect the complete picture of ecosystem health for that particular year.