REPORT CARD: The Noosa River is still in great shape.
REPORT CARD: The Noosa River is still in great shape. Facebook: Jen Galinska

Waterway earns top A- rating

NOOSA River catchment has retained its A- Healthy Waters rating, which was handed down on Wednesday.

Healthy Waterways and Catchments Science Committee Professor Stuart Bunn said the rating was again the highest catchment grade in south-east Queensland.

The report card said: "The (Noosa) community value their waterways very highly for their lifestyle and well-being benefits”.

The official rating indicates Noosa "remains in excellent condition” - news welcomed by Mayor Tony Wellington.

"A recent study by DrRuth Thurstan of the University of Queensland showed that biodiversity in the Noosa River has been significantly depleted in the past 100 years or more,” CrWellington said.

"Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation, in collaboration with various community groups and tertiary institutions, is engaging in a series of projects to help improve that biodiversity.

"One such project is called 'Keep it in Kin Kin'.

"This effort aims to reduce sediment entering the river from the Kin Kin catchment.

"The project ties in perfectly with one of the key recommendations in the Healthy Waterways Report to reduce pollutant loads in Kin Kin Creek.”

Professor Bunn said there was an overall improvement across the whole Sunshine Coast region, with the Maroochy and Mooloolah catchments increasing to B ratings from their 2015 mark of C+ and Pumicestone Passage going from a B- last year to a B+.

"The improvements in grades across the region are largely due to a 70% decrease in the amount of sediment pollution entering our waterways, associated with below average rainfall this year,” Professor Bunn said.

"We need to build the resilience of our catchments against future rainfall events if we are to maintain the improvements we have seen this past year, and protect the benefits our waterways provide through tourism, recreation, drinking water supply and agriculture.”

For Noosa the report said: "Pollutant loads improved from low to very low. Riparian condition remains excellent. Estuarine water quality remains excellent.

"The catchment retains the highest proportion of both freshwater and estuarine wetlands (compared to pre-cleared) of all catchments in the SEQ region.

"Freshwater health remains excellent, scoring very high for ecological process and water quality.”

The key statistics for Noosa are that 92% of the "streambank” retains vegetation, while 68% has never been cleared.

The sediment levels generated by land uses in entering Noosa's waterways is 13,668 tonnes

The annual report found the local community receives very high social and economic benefits from the waterways and their ability to use local waterways is "very high”.

The economic value generated "waterway recreation is also very high”.

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