Dealing with water quality hotspots to improve the Gippsland Lakes

The downstream impacts of erosion can affect seagrass and wetland plants in the Gippsland Lakes.

According to West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Water Team Leader, Eleisha Keogh, it can also affect the frequency and severity of algal blooms.

“We know that water quality plays a really important role in the health of the Gippsland Lakes,” explained Ms Keogh.

“River bank erosion contributes over 70 per cent of the fine sediment that reaches the Gippsland Lakes.”

East and West Gippsland catchment management authorities have received funding from the Victorian State Government, to tackle water quality hot spots along waterways in the catchments of the Gippsland Lakes.

“This will be done through a range of works which includes things like, fencing off rivers to protect the river banks, revegetating river banks to reduce erosion, removing willows or protecting riverbanks with rock chutes or beaching,” continued Ms Keogh.

East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) has identified two sites where works will help improve water quality.

Ken Judd, Manager of the EGCMA Water Team said the first site near Bairnsdale on the lower Mitchell was chosen because it is close to the Gippsland Lakes.

“The Mitchell River is one of the largest flowing into the Gippsland Lakes” explained Mr Judd.

“Works are well on the way with targeted willow removal and weed control.

“Contractors are currently on the ground planting 10,000 plants across five sites on the lower Mitchell to help stabilise the banks, filter water flowing into the river and subsequently the Lakes.”

Works on a second site on the Tambo River started in late June.

“This project will complement past works by revegetating and controlling weeds along a two kilometre section immediately upstream of the Stephensons Road Bridge, Tambo Upper,” said Mr Judd.

“Poplars were removed in late 2016, so the focus of these works will be revegetating the banks to build resilience and provide stability for the bank, and ensure against contributing sediment to the Lakes.”

This is one of 16 projects funded by the Victorian State Government to help improve the health of the Gippsland Lakes.

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