Georges Bay and Catchment
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Water quality issues and conditions in Georges Bay and its catchment have attracted considerable community interest and activity over the last 20 years, including Natural Resource Management programs and funding.
Some of this work is documented in the reports available for download here. (Some of these files are quite large; if accessing them is difficult for you please contact Council.)
Bringing Back the Bay
Following water quality concerns in the 1990s and several rivercare, landcare and coastcare projects, funding was obtained in 2005 for the Bringing Back the Bay project and on-ground works with landholders and Property Management Planning.
Georges Bay Water Quality Monitoring
A group of community volunteers began regular and detailed monitoring of the Bay's water quality from 2007 as part of this project. A valuable four years of baseline data was collected and is an important information resource for continuing management of the catchment and bay.
In 2010 a Tasmanian Government panel of experts examined assertions that toxicants associated with hardwood plantations in the catchment were a threat to people and the bay. This case typified past community concern for water quality issues in the catchment and the health of the bay, which continues today as the value of the bay and catchment to the community grows.
A forum was held in 2011 to mark the end of data collection by the monitoring volunteers - after grant funding for the costly water sample testing had been used up. The forum took stock of the data and what water quality monitoring would be appropriate in the future. Scientists interpreting the monitoring data collected have generally given the bay a good (B+) rating, but with a few water quality parameters to watch.
Improving Water Quality in the Georges Bay Catchment
In 2014 NRM North began a series of Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) projects in the northern Tasmanian region, including for Georges Bay Catchment. The Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Georges Bay Catchment will help identify where the best future investments to improve water quality in the catchments of Georges Bay are.
A field day and workshop were held in 2014 to review the background paper documenting modelling results and obtain feedback from the catchment community on water quality improvement priorities. This WQIP process is only considering the water quality parameters of nitrogen, phosphorus, suspended solids (fine sediments) and enterococci (faceal matter contamination). It considers these in terms of sub-catchmetns and different land use categories (map above).
A final draft of the Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Georges Bay Catchment was drafted in 2015 and is available in the documents list here. It builds on the initial background paper and workshop feedback to outline where where across sub-catchments and land use categories the quality modelling shows the best opportunites are for improving water quality.