South West Sydney
Fourth Report Card published on Georges River health
The release of this report card marks the completion of the first two-year funding period of the Georges River Community River Health Monitoring Program. This phase of the program saw the Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee (GRCCC) partner with its nine member councils, the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA), Georges River Environmental Education Centre, Sydney Water and the community to monitor the health of the Georges River at 42 sites across the catchment.
“We are very proud of the commitment of the Georges River community throughout the first two years of the River Health Monitoring Program,” said GRCCC Chairperson Clr Julie Bourke.
The program has facilitated 168 sampling events at over 42 sites in freshwater and estuarine areas of the Georges River catchment over the last two years, and the community has contributed more than 1700 volunteer hours to the program.
“Five councils have allocated funds from the Lower Georges River Sustainability Initiative and the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority to implement on ground works to improve water quality as a result of our data, which is what the program set out to achieve” added Clr Bourke.
“The expansion of our sampling into the Cooks River Catchment will allow us to capture data on a regional scale which can be used to inform management decisions relating to the wider Botany Bay catchment, further demonstrating that councils are working together to achieve real environmental gains.”
The results of the autumn 2011 Report Card indicate that the overall ecological health of the Georges River is fair and that large areas of the catchment are in excellent condition. The report card verifies that the river system has been affected by urban and industrial development. The high degree of urbanisation in the mid and lower catchments has led to a loss of riparian and estuarine vegetation and deterioration in water quality and macroinvertebrate diversity. In the upper catchment, the protection of large areas of vegetation has resulted in mostly healthy waterways however there is evidence of degraded water at a number of sites which can be attributed to either industrial discharge or urban runoff.
The GRCCC has been awarded $506,000 from the Australian Government to continue the program for a further two years (to June 2013). This funding will enable more frequent sampling within the Georges River catchment and the expansion of the project into the Cooks River catchment, in partnership with the Cooks River Alliance (CRA).
The River Health monitoring program is being conducted by the GRCCC and has been funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country Program. The project is one of a suite of environmental initiatives by the GRCCC and its member councils, the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) and the Australian Government that aims to progressively reverse some of the degradation that has occurred within the Georges River catchment. The GRCCC’s River Health Monitoring Program was recently awarded the top prize in the Urban Landcare category of the 2011 NSW Landcare Awards. The GRCCC is an incorporated association of nine local government councils working in partnership with state and federal government agencies and community representatives within the Georges River catchment. It represents local government in the Georges River catchment of NSW. Member councils include Bankstown City, Campbelltown City, Fairfield City, Hurstville City, Kogarah City, Liverpool City, Rockdale City, Sutherland Shire and Wollondilly Shire councils. The GRCCC is proudly hosted by Hurstville City Council, 2009-2012.
For a copy of the latest Report Card visit www.georgesriver.org.au