Watch on river nu­tri­ent lev­els

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS -

FIND­INGS from a two-year mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram of the Der­went River’s wa­ter qual­ity will help re­searchers su­per­vise the con­di­tion of the Der­went.

The Der­went Es­tu­ary Pro­gram’s re­search trial fo­cused on nu­tri­ents, sed­i­ments and other stan­dard physio-chem­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters to bet­ter doc­u­ment changes in catch­ment wa­ter qual­ity con­di­tions.

Monthly wa­ter tests were con­ducted across 14 sites along the Der­went be­tween Septem­ber 2015 and Au­gust 2017.

Der­went Es­tu­ary Pro­gram CEO Ur­sula Tay­lor said there was grow­ing con­cern in the past five years about wa­ter qual­ity due to nu­tri­ent en­rich­ment and al­gal growth within the Der­went River catch­ment and up­per Der­went es­tu­ary.

Ms Tay­lor said the two-year mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram con­firmed a trend of in­creas­ing nu­tri­ents within the river.

“We’ve no­ticed over the past five years there is an in­crease of nu­tri­ents in the wa­ter, par­tic­u­larly around the New Nor­folk re­gion,” she said.

“This is likely due to mul­ti­ple sources in­clud­ing an ex­pan­sion of in­dus­try and pop­u­la­tion in the area.”

The trial found nu­tri­ents were largely de­rived from aqua­cul­ture in sum­mer and agri­cul­tural sources dur­ing win­ter months.

Ms Tay­lor said the mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram didn’t con­firm whether the Der­went was in an over­all good or bad state, but ad­mit­ted river nu­tri­ents need to be low­ered.

“Based on the re­port rec­om­men­da­tions, our next steps will in­volve work­ing with our stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of aqua­cul­ture and agri­cul­ture, to iden­tify im­me­di­ate ac­tions to re­duce nu­tri­ents in the river,” Ms Tay­lor said.

“With mul­ti­ple prob­lems comes mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions and it could be as sim­ple as ad­just­ing ri­par­ian zones and look­ing at the im­pact of fish hatch­eries.

“Our fo­cus is the health of the wa­ter, and the mon­i­tor­ing is some­thing we want to con­tinue do in a pos­i­tive sense.”

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