Studies find wide variations in Tweed River health

Opposite ends of the Tweed River are at opposite ends of the river health spectrum, according to two recent water quality studies.

“Down towards the river mouth, the lower estuary is a healthy and well-functioning ecosystem and gets an ‘A’ for water quality compliance,” Council’s Waterways Program Leader, Tom Alletson, said.

“In contrast, the Rous River and creeks feeding the broadwaters have poorer water quality.”

Council commissioned the two water quality assessments as background studies for a new Tweed River Estuary Management Program.

Both examined compliance with aquatic ecosystem protection targets for the Tweed River and Terranora-Cobaki Broadwaters between 2012 and 2016.

Actions to be considered for inclusion in the management plan include:

• Working with floodplain land owners to improve the quality of water in agricultural drains
• Reducing the discharge of nutrients from the Murwillumbah Wastewater Treatment Plant into the Rous River
• Community education about high-risk times for swimming because of water quality
• Restricting stock access to river banks throughout the whole Tweed River catchment
• Revegetation of river banks, particularly in the Rous River

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