Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

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Rapid catchment assessments secured

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Bega Valley Shire Council has secured funding from the Office of Environment and Heritage to conduct an assessment of three Shire estuaries and their catchments.

The assessments of Cuttagee Lake, Nelson Lagoon and Middle Lagoon, located between Tathra and Bermagui, will provide a better picture of estuary health and water quality.

Coastal Management Officer, Kyran Crane, said all three estuaries are intermittently closed and opened lakes or lagoons (ICOLLs) which possess significant ecological, recreational and socioeconomic values all of which are reliant on good water quality.

“The water quality of a lake or lagoon is highly dependent on the land use practices and environmental quality of the catchment,” he said.

“Issues such as unsealed roads, intensive land use, natural and manmade erosion all impact on water quality.

“This impact can be particularly intensified for ICOLLs as there is reduced tidal flushing when the entrance bar is closed, therefore catchment inputs can inadvertently affect a suite of water quality parameters.

“The three estuaries selected for this study are all extremely sensitive to catchment disturbance which directly affects water quality.

“It is crucial that good water quality is maintained in these ICOLLs, not only for recreation purposes but because Nelson Lagoon is also an oyster growing lake which relies directly on the quality of the water.”

Mr Crane said Council has comprehensive Coastal Zone Management Plans in place for all of its major estuaries, but some of the smaller ICOLLs can be managed without the need for full scale plans.

As a result, the Rapid Catchment Assessment methodology was developed to identify issues within estuaries and catchments and to highlight areas for targeted rehabilitation.

“Actions from the rapid assessment will be documented in a targeted Catchment Management Plan for each estuary and implemented as funding allows.

“Council is also seeking community input into the project and a consultation plan is being developed. A local consultancy, Elgin Associates, has been appointed for the project and they encourage anyone with local knowledge of the ICOLLs or their catchments to get in touch,” he said.

Project manager Dr Nicholas Yee can be contacted directly on 0400 365 234 or at or interested residents, stakeholders and community members may complete an online survey via the following links.
Cuttagee Lake
Middle Lagoon
Nelson Lagoon


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