Monday, September 29, 2014

Derwent Estuary program continued

PARTNERS in the Derwent Estuary Program agreed to continue the 15-year-old initiative. The third Derwent Estuary Program partnership agreement was signed last week by the councils that border the estuary (Brighton, Clarence, Derwent Valley, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough) and five major industry partners (Nyrstar Hobart, Norske Skog Boyer, TasWater, the Tasmanian Ports Corporation and Hydro Tasmania.

Acting director Ursula Taylor said that as the condition of the estuary improved, there was growing interest in conserving and enjoying the Derwent’s natural features. “Since 1999 more than $150 million has been spent towards environmental improvements,” Ms Taylor said.

“The Derwent is now showing promising signs of recovery. During the past decade, there have been substantial reductions in discharges of organic matter (90%), heavy metals (60%), and sewage-derived nutrients (10–20%), as well as improvements in stormwater treatment.”

Derwent Estuary Programs have included:
  • Monitoring pollution levels at swimming beaches and bays;
  • Monitoring pollution levels in seafood;
  • Increasing the area of protected wetlands by 40 percent;
  • To preserve iconic species such as the little penguin and the endangered spotted handfish; and
  • Encouraged the enjoyment of the Derwent through the use of foreshore tracks by developing the Greater Hobart Trails website.
The DEP Environmental Management Plan can be found here: www.derwentestuary.org.au.

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