Tag Archives: water quality

How healthy are our waterways?

Beautiful creeks and waterways are a wonderful part of our City – but how healthy are they?

Since 1998, Council has regularly tested waterway health at up to 50 waterways across the City. As a result, we now have one of the richest water quality data sets in Australia, and Council uses this data to inform its catchment improvement programs.

Council has published detailed water quality reports on its website since 2006. From July 2016, Council has also produced a summary ‘snapshot’ report, with the aim of making waterway health information more available to the community. The snapshot reports are mailed to all ratepayers in July.

The full waterway health reports, as well as the summary “snapshot” reports, are also available on Council’s website at www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways.

The ‘snapshot’ report shows each sample waterway in the Blue Mountains, the catchment within which it flows, and its state of ecological health (rated Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor). In the 2017 report, 52% of tested waterways are in good condition or better, while 48% of waterways are in fair to poor condition.

Our city is lucky to have some of Australia’s best waterways, but as these results show, they are also vulnerable to pollution – especially due to stormwater runoff from urban areas.

Urban runoff is consistently identified as the number one environmental threat to our World Heritage listing and presents challenges for local drinking water catchments, Endangered Ecological Communities, threatened species and the City’s tourism reputation.

Everything that goes into our gutters and streets ends up in our creeks.

Try these few simple actions to help protect our waterways from urban runoff:

  • Keep these pollutants out of drains: litter, soil and sand, fertilisers and pesticides, detergents, oil, animal droppings and garden waste.
  • Install a rainwater tank to capture rainwater from your roof and use it regularly.
  • Design your garden to allow stormwater to soak into the ground.
  • Control invasive weeds on your property.
  • Don’t dump fish or plants in waterways.

To find out more about local waterways, visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways

Jamison Creek Catchment: Caring for Dwarf Mountain Pine

Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown

Protecting the Wentworth Falls population of the endangered Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii  from the very invasive Montbretia was the name of the game for our Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day this year. It was well received by some keen Bushcare volunteers, BMCC Bushland Operations Team (Bushcare Officers and Bush Regeneration Officers) and the NPWS Ranger for the Jamison Valley.

Having 2 extra Bush Regeneration team members involved for the first time meant we could divide into smaller groups and cover more of the creekline as well as share information about the management of the whole area while we worked.

One group met at Wentworth Falls Car Park, walked to the top of Wentworth Falls and then worked upstream (wading where necessary) to follow up woody weeds in the area worked last year.

The other groups met at the corner of Jamison and Fletcher streets, kitted up and after a short walk down to the creek, with some walking further down the Charles Darwin Track, started target ting Montbretia around the pools and cascades and all woody weeds and the along the track and creek banks. All three groups re-united for lunch and informative talks on the creek bank.

Montbretia is slow going so although the distance covered wasn’t huge, we removed lots of corms and enjoyed the beautiful weather and surroundings while we worked. There was lots of opportunity to discuss the creek condition, learn about the endangered Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera fistzgeraldii).

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) corms

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) flowers

Another target weed in this catchment is Erica lusitanica (Spanish or Portugese heath, often referred to simply as “Erica”, a woody shrub which has a similar appearance to native tea trees so is often mistaken for a native. Both Montbretia and Erica have the potential to establish in the rocky crevices on the cliffline adjacent to the waterfalls – taking up the space where Dwarf Mountain Pine grows. Annual Catchment Care Days are a valuable contribution to the ongoing work of Council’s Bushland Operations Team, contractors and the volunteer Bushcare Groups. Charles Darwin, Jamieson St Landcare, Wentworth Falls Lake, Water Nymphs Dell and Valley of the Waters groups were all represented this year and together we not only dealt with Montbretia and Erica but as Tutsan, Japanese honeysuckle and Small-leaf Privet as well.

Jenny Hill from Council’s Healthy Waterways Team delivered a very informative talk about the issues affecting the water quality of the catchment and the work underway to improve stormwater management.

Good food, good company and good work resulted in a very enjoyable and productive morning – made possible through funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage “Saving Our Species” program. A huge thank you to SoS and the dedicated volunteers of Wentworth Falls!

 

Leura Cascades Combined Catchment Event – Vale Street

Creekline view

Tributary of Leura Falls Creek photo by Karen Hising

Join all the Groups in the Leura Falls Creek Catchment for a morning at the Vale Street Bushcare site in the upper part of the catchment, a critical place in the stormwater management system. There will be a range of options – weeding (both challenging and easy work along the creek) planting, mulching.  An opportunity to inspect and support the recent contract work in that area. There will also be updates about our work in the Catchment. Includes morning tea.

Jamison Creek Catchment Group Meeting

Meet in the foyer at 2.50 pm. Our newest Catchment Group meets to explore the environmental issues impacting on the Jamison Creek ecosystems and to implement strategies to improve the overall catchment health. For more information please get in touch with Lachlan Garland 0415 317 078 or email lachlan.a.garland@bigpond.com

UNSW Chinese Students Association lends a helping hand to Katoomba Falls

UNSW Chinese Students Association helping out with planting at Katoomba Falls

UNSW Chinese Students Association helping out with planting at Katoomba Falls

Our fabulous Blue Mountains put on a text-book Winter’s day for a small group of students from the University of New South Wales on July 14 – bright sunshine and crisp (cold) air – perfect for planting ferns along the newly refurbished walking track at Katoomba Falls.

The group may have been small but the amount they got done was not! Working with contractors engaged by Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) who prepared the holes ready for planting, 120 Blechnum nudum, Gahnia sieberiana and Lomandra longifolia were very quickly in the ground, watered and protected from frost and wind with tree fern fronds.

The students were so enthusiastic and energetic that once the plants were in, we had plenty of time to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and some delicious, locally produced biscuits before walking to the lookout, guided by Monica from the Bushcare Team.

Hopefully this was just the first of many more days such as this one, which not only showcased one of our local icons but also the wonderful work that BMCC is doing to protect the World Heritage on our doorstep

Chinese students Katoomba Falls

Vincent shows us how its done

Chinese students at Katoomba Falls

Edol, Mindy, and Vincent wasted no time getting in amongst it

The Gully get together 2016

Garguree Swampcare, Upper Kedumba Bushcare, Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare,Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare invite you to the 2016 Gully Get-together.

  • Learn and practice the best ways to treat Privet
  • Support all the Bushcare groups catchment area
  • Enjoy lunch and a cuppa while connecting with each other and hearing what other groups and organizations are up too
  • Get updates on work planned to care for the catchment & hear about the site’s  history
  • Support The Gully Tradition Owners in Caring for Country

And learn about the Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii)

Wear long sleeves, long pants, closed in shoes or boots. Bring drinking water and your energy! Lunch, tools and training provided.

 

Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment Group Meeting

Fitzgeralds Catchment Group meet to discuss what is happening in the catchment, and where to in the future. Meeting is held at Warrimoo RFS Brigade station. To find out more contact Steve Barratt on 47 536 339 or Peter Chrismas on 4780 5623, or email pchrismas@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

Connected Catchments

Creekline In Full Force  Vale Street - June 2016

Vale St Baramy Trap in Full Flow – June 2016

On May 2 the Leura Falls Creek and Jamison Creek Catchment Working groups came together along with Blue Mountains City Council Natural Areas and Healthy Waterways teams to do “catchment crawls” (minibus tours of the key work sites) in each other’s catchments. Residents of the Vale St end of the Leura Falls Creek catchment were also invited.

In the morning, the Leura Falls Creek tour showcased the recently constructed stormwater upgrades including the Vale St Baramy Trap and raingarden – shown below in full flow with the recent heavy rains in early June. The Jamison Creek Working Group had an opportunity to see what types of stormwater management systems will be installed in the Jamison Creek Catchment in the near future.

After lunch, a tour of Jamison Creek Catchment gave us a chance to learn about where the upgrades are planned and how they will be constructed.

The stormwater improvement projects in both catchments are an initiative between Water NSW and Blue Mountains City Council. The catchment crawl was filmed by KFM Media, Katoomba. Thanks to the tour guides, Eric Mahony and Geoffrey Smith from Blue Mountains City Council and Peter Bennet who designs the Baramy Traps. Thanks to Monica Nugent for driving the bus. And thank you to every one who came on the tour.

Vale Street - June 2016

Vale Street – June 2016 11

Release of Council’s First Healthy Waterways Report

Rspencer long neck

Long neck Turtle Photo by R Spencer

Beautiful creeks and waterways are a wonderful part of our City – but how healthy are they?

From July this year, it will be easier to find out, with the release of Council’s Blue Mountains Waterway Health Report – a user-friendly brochure showing the results of Council’s Water Quality Monitoring Program.

Since 1998, Council has regularly tested waterway health at up to 50 waterways across the City. As a result, we now have one of the richest water quality data sets in Australia, and Council uses this data to inform its catchment improvement programs.

Council regularly tests the health of our waterways at over 40 sites across the city. the diversity of waterbugs such as crayfish is an indicator of creek health.

Council regularly tests the health of our waterways at over 40 sites across the city. the diversity of waterbugs such as crayfish is an indicator of creek health.

While detailed water quality reports have been published on Council’s website since 2006, the new brochure aims to make this information readily accessible to everyone in the community. It is hoped people will be prompted to think about local waterway health and what they can do to help.

The report card shows each sample waterway in the Blue Mountains, the catchment within which it flows, and its state of ecological health (rated Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor). In the 2016 report, 53% of tested waterways are in good condition or better.

Our city is lucky to have some of Australia’s best waterways, but they are also vulnerable to pollution – especially due to stormwater runoff from urban areas.

Urban runoff is consistently identified as the number one environmental threat to our World Heritage listing and presents challenges for local drinking water catchments, Endangered Ecological Communities, threatened species and the City’s tourism reputation.

Everything that goes into our gutters and streets ends up in our creeks

Try these few simple actions to help protect our waterways from urban runoff:

  • Keep pollutants out of drains (litter, soil and sand, fertilisers and pesticides, detergents, oil, animal droppings and garden waste).
  • Install a rainwater tank to capture rainwater from your roof and use it regularly.
  • Design your garden to allow stormwater to soak into the ground.
  • Control invasive weeds on your property.
  • Don’t dump fish or plants in waterways.

 The Report Card will be sent to all ratepayers with Council’s newsletter from July.

To find out more about our local waterways, visit  www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways

Blue Mountains Stream Frog Litopria citropa - Lucy Kidson

Blue Mountains Stream Frog Litopria citropa – Lucy Kidson