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Moreton Bay makes the grade

Posted: 11am 06 Nov 2020

Moreton Bay Region has some of the best waterways in South East Queensland, according to the 20th annual Healthy Land and Water report – but the high grades come with a warning.

Our region’s impressive 2020 marks follow an improvement of water quality thanks to regrowth in seagrass beds and a reduction in silt run-off.

  • Pine Catchment (Pine Rivers and Redcliffe) is graded B, the same as last year and up from C in 2015
  • Caboolture (including parts of D’Aguilar National Park) is graded B+ for a third year and up from C+ in 2015
  • Pumicestone (which includes Bribie Island and Pumicestone Passage) is graded A-, the same as last year and up from B- in 2015

This compares well with the catchments Mooloolah C and Maroochy C+ to the north and to the south Mid-Brisbane C, Lower Brisbane D+ and Redland C+.

Grades for the waters of Moreton Bay are among the best in years and close to top marks.

  • Western Bay (coastal waters from Bribie to Brisbane) are graded A-, up from B in 2015
  • Central Bay (mid-Moreton Bay waters from the tip of Bribie down past Victoria Point) are graded A-, up from B+ in 2015
  • Eastern Bay (waters on western side of Moreton Is and North Stradbrooke Is) are graded A, unchanged from 2015.

Happy news

“Ocean currents have been able to flush a lot of mud build-up out of the bay as there’s been no rain to wash soil out to sea, but that’s left our land parched,” says Mayor Peter Flannery.

“I welcome our (Moreton Bay) A- grade in this year’s report, it’s happy news to know our bay not only looks good but is a wonderfully healthy ecosystem for marine life to flourish.”

The Mayor says waterways are a massive draw for tourists visiting South East Queensland, particularly entering summer with more than $5 billion in economic benefits a year for industry, tourism, recreation and fishing.

Words of warning

However, each report for Pine, Caboolture and Pumicestone catchments says: “Over the next 25 years the Moreton Bay Regional Council area is projected to be one of the fastest growing urbanised areas in the region.

“Given this, it is becoming increasingly important to reduce the effects upon the environment from development activities that have undue impact.”

Julie McLellan, CEO of Healthy Land and Water, said the long-running program had reached 20 years of intensive data collection and reporting.

“This puts the wealth of valuable trend information that South East Queensland needs, to be able to adapt to the significant pressures ahead, at our fingertips,” she said.

Strategic plan

Mayor Peter Flannery says council is already helping build resilience in our waterways, including the development of an Environment and Sustainability Strategy.

“Council has invested in restoring drains and re-establishing natural wetlands, repairing the vegetation along the creek banks to reduce sediment, and securing land around our waterways for environmental management,” he says.

“Council is in the process of engaging with Healthy Land and Water to remove litter and work with council to help manage the health of the Caboolture River.”

Need to act

Healthy Land and Waters’ Senior Scientist, Rachael Nasplezes said: “We need to act to ensure these valuable community assets continue to function as healthy systems.

“Addressing the impacts of waterway litter through immediate removal mitigates the damage this can cause when it reaches our marine environments.”

For more information visit www.hlw.org.au

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