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Author Topic: Reducing effects of cattle on waterways to improve water quality & fish Habitat  (Read 2584 times)

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Hunter Water and Dungog Cows in Unusual Partnership to Protect Drinking Water
Date: Saturday 2 August 2014 - Hunter Water

Hunter Water and local dairy farmers have embarked on a ground breaking project as part of a four-year, $4 million investment in improving the quality of the region's water supply and boosting local fish stocks.

The Catchment Improvement Program is the largest ever improvement to the health of local drinking water and sees Hunter Water working with dairy farmers in Port Stephens and Dungog to stop cow manure runoff entering the local water supply.

Hunter Water's Catchment Scientist Rhys Blackmore said the water utility is working with dairy farms in the Lower Hunter to develop plans that improve water quality without hindering the farm business.

"A medium sized dairy farm produces the same amount of effluent as a town of 1,000 people. If the runoff from these dairy farms isn't managed correctly, that effluent enters local rivers and eventually needs to be removed by a Hunter Water treatment plant.

"Improving the runoff from properties in Dungog and Port Stephens means drinking water will require less chemical disinfection before it can be consumed by the community.

"Less pollution entering local waterways means more healthy fish, greater biodiversity and less algae produced," he said.

The Catchment Improvement Program will be delivered over the next four years in partnership with Port Stephens and Dungog Councils, and Local Land Services.

Hunter Water will work with landowners on property inspections, education and funding to improve runoff to protect local catchment areas.

Member for the Upper Hunter George Souris said Dungog's Barrington Tops and Williams River were critical to Newcastle and the Hunter's water supply.

"A healthy Williams River is essential for farmers, tourists and vital to the unique local ecosystem.

"Protecting the Williams not only supports the town of Dungog, but also provides cleaner water for the more than half a million people that are supplied water daily by Hunter Water. Keeping the Williams clean also helps keep local water the cheapest in the country because local water treatment plants require less upgrades," he said.

Dungog Mayor Harold Johnston said he was pleased Hunter Water was taking a partnership approach and sharing the costs of improving river health.

"Local farmers want to do the right thing. Hunter Water is taking the right approach is sharing their knowledge with local dairy farmers to ensure local farming practices are delivering Australia's finest milk as well as Australia's cleanest water."





Williams River to be the Site of Australian First Project to Protect Drinking Water Supply
Hunter Water

Hunter Water will safeguard the quality of the region's drinking water by building a 24 km fence along either side of the Williams River to prevent cattle from entering the water.


The $1.5 million project will be the largest of its type ever undertaken in Australia and will occur on land previously purchased for the now ruled out Tillegra Dam.

The project will see an exclusion zone of roughly 30 metres established on either side of the Williams River using fencing and native trees. The properties will then be placed on the market for sale with a condition that cattle cannot enter the exclusion zone facing onto the river.

The fencing will prevent cattle from entering the Williams River as well as prevent erosion and filter runoff. All have combined over many decades to pollute the water before it is pumped to Grahamstown Dam.

Hunter Water's Catchments Scientist Rhys Blackmore said the project was a once in a lifetime opportunity made possible by the decision not to build the Tillegra Dam.

"Hunter Water has this extraordinary opportunity to protect what amounts to at least 150 hectares of Williams River riverbank. As the organisation moves towards a strategic sale of the properties purchased for the Tillegra Dam, it's vital Hunter Water acts now while it still owns the land.

"By protecting what is known as the riparian zone of the river from wandering cattle, fish stocks will substantially lift and in turn attract more wildlife to the area. Ultimately protecting the river will bring benefits to the local economy by making the area more attractive to tourists.

"The downstream effects of protecting the river are substantial and include improving the quality of the water flowing into Grahamstown Dam.

"This is a project that environmental scientists across the world will be following due the enormous size of the riverbank being protected. Water authorities typically don't own river frontage and when they do it's for the purpose of building a dam. With Tillegra Dam being ruled out, we have this unique opportunity to forever protect the river and the water flowing through it," he said.

Member for the Upper Hunter and Minister for the Hunter George Souris said the fencing would have no impact on the NSW Government's commitment to disposing of land previously purchased for the Tillegra Dam.

"Hunter Water will continue to place on the market property they were instructed to purchase by the former State Government.

"I understand that Hunter Water is currently considering discounting the asking price of the 3 Tillegra properties on the market and that the number of properties for sale will accelerate later in the year.

"By forever removing the shadow of the Tillegra Dam from the Dungog region, I'm confident new markets such organic farming and eco-tourism will continue to grow and support the local economy," he said.

Mayor of Dungog Harold Johnston said he was pleased to see Hunter Water investing in a project that will deliver long-term benefits to the area.

"The Williams River is a stunning local asset which already attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually, provides recreation to the people of Dungog and is the lifeblood of local farmers.

"This investment in the Williams will strengthen Dungog's ecotourism and biodiversity which is undoubtedly the future of our economy and the families who live here.

"I look forward to Hunter Water selling this land, however am glad they have shown the foresight to make a lasting improvement to the Williams River before the land is returned to private ownership," he said.

Safeguarding the banks of the Williams River is a key recommendation of the Tillegra Land Use and Management Plan.

The Plan also expresses a view that the size of many of the 46 Tillegra properties owned by Hunter Water are too small and therefore unappealing to potential buyers.

Hunter Water will in the next few months award a contract for a property consultant with the expertise to determine the various optimum lot size to maximise buyer interest.

Between 2006 and 2010 eleven former Tillegra residents negotiated a clause in their sale contracts providing an opportunity for a "First Right of Refusal" in the event that the dam did not proceed.

Of these 11 people, 3 have indicated they do not wish to buy back their land. These 3 properties are now on the market for sale.

The remaining 8 landowners have stated that they will make a decision once the NSW Government releases the Lower Hunter Water Plan (LHWP). Hunter Water expects the LHWP to be released in the near future.

Hunter Water will review other recommendations contained with the Tillegra Land Use and Management Plan over the coming months such as the potential for green corridors within the riparian zone which could include bushwalking trails, cycleways and heritage projects.
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To pinch a line from Steve,  "Meanwhile, in Queensland!"

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To pinch a line from Steve,  "Meanwhile, in Queensland!"
Traveston, Wolfdene ................................

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Brisbane River.......

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SEQ water is currently doing a comprehensive review of water quality on NPD as a further continuance of their  review of the recreational use of the dam.
Part of this review is that they have limited PRFMA to restricting the number of boating permits sold to the number of permits sold last year.
At the same time one of the leaseholders has several hundred cows on agistment and surprise surprise all the gates have been blown open by the wind.{ Could not possibly have been opened deliberately. )
As a result aprox 50 head grazing on the green pick on edge of dam and drinking out of dam on a daily basis.
I suppose that it is lucky that there are no waterlilys present or there would be a lot more cattle in the water.
What is this doing to the ecoli levels in the dam and how will this skew their tests and influence the results of the survey.
Also the dam fishing well on shrimp and monster mickies  atm 144 bass one day last week and 153 yesterday.
Cheers
Ray

 

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