Pol­lu­tion pres­sure on our rivers

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Near You -

THE Swan River Trust hosted Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group re­porter Jon Bas­sett on the river re­cently af­ter the State Gov­ern­ment ab­sorbed the agency into the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife and be­fore the es­tu­ary be­comes one of three top pol­icy ar­eas this year. THE Swan River is in a bet­ter con­di­tion than many as­sume but there is still work to be done, Swan River Trust (SRT) act­ing gen­eral manager Mark Cu­g­ley says.

“Over­all, it’s in good con­di­tion, based on the fact that peo­ple can con­tinue to swim along it, the amount of fish and it sup­port­ing a vi­brant dol­phin pop­u­la­tion,” Mr Cu­g­ley said.

The SRT works to con­trol ex­cess nu­tri­ents reach­ing the river, in­clud­ing a $3 mil­lion project at the Bayswa­ter Brook main drain where 150,000 river­bank plants may stop 1.3 tonnes of ni­tro­gen reach­ing the river each year.

Ni­tro­gen and phos­phates from fer­tilis­ers can cre­ate toxic al­gae blooms in hot weather, so the Trust’s Mid­land and Wil­son plants pump oxy­gen into the wa­ter to pro­vide refuges from the blooms for fish in the rivers’ up­per reaches.

How­ever, it has been re­vealed that El­len­brook is the worst trib­u­tary for the pol­lu­tion, breaching short- and long-term re­duc­tion tar­gets in the past four years.

Mr Cu­g­ley said 14 other Swan River catch­ments were meet­ing 20-year tar­gets and work would con­tinue with the catch­ments’ coun­cils, farm­ers, golf cour­ses and land­scap­ers to re­duce fer­tilis­ers, while other Gov­ern­ment agen­cies would en­force the Swan and Can­ning Rivers Man­age­ment Act.

He said the rivers would con­tinue to be af­fected by a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and a dry­ing cli­mate, so the SRT would con­tinue to ed­u­cate the public about the threats.

Down­stream, three screens will block any plumes dur­ing dig­ging of a boat­ing basin soon to start at El­iz­a­beth Quay in the Perth CBD and the SRT con­tin­ues to pri­ori­tise funds for river­bank restora­tion and river­wall re­pairs

SRT statu­tory as­sess­ment manager Jen­nifer Stritzke said mon­i­tor­ing had not in­di­cated any inflow of con­tam­i­na­tion from his­toric dumps near the quay works. Ms Stritzke said much of what came out of the large main drain ad­ja­cent to the Quay and into the Swan would have flowed from Lake Mon­ger, which was fed by smaller drains tak­ing road run-off from places as far away as Shen­ton Park.

Act­ing river­park manager Roland Mau said the river had been di­vided into 350 sec­tions to de­cide which river wall re­pairs got funded, with coun­cil con­tri­bu­tions depend­ing on the fre­quency and type of public use at that part of the river.

Swan River Trust’s Mark Cu­g­ley.

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