Leura’s Peter Carroll Oval was abuzz with swamp-lovers of all ages on Sunday at Swampfest.
The event was a joint project between Council and the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Community Group, as well as students and staff from Katoomba Public School, St Canice’s Primary School and Katoomba High School.
Over 200 people enjoyed walks, talks, displays and workshops on swampy topics from crayfish and skinks to how to keep a water-sensitive home.
“Swampfest was a wonderful way to discover our unique and ancient Blue Mountains swamps and how we can help protect them,” said Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill.
“Swamps are ancient systems that play a vital role in keeping our waterways clean and clear. Like giant filters in the landscape, they help to keep pollution out of our creeks. They also act like enormous sponges. By absorbing and releasing water slowly over time, swamps keep our creeks and waterfalls flowing even during drought. They also provide a vital drought refuge for wildlife. Some local swamp species are found nowhere else in the world,” said the Mayor.
About 50 festival-goers made a pledge to protect local swamps and waterways by being more stormwater aware: keeping litter and chemicals out of stormwater drains, washing their car on the lawn to keep detergent out of street drains and installing a rainwater tank.
“Many people don’t realise it, but stormwater runoff is one of the biggest causes of damage to our swamps and creeks. Unlike sewage, stormwater is generally not treated before being discharged to waterways. By keeping pollution out of stormwater drains, we are helping to protect our creeks.”
Since 2014, Council and Water NSW together have invested $350,000 in the protection of swamps and water quality in Leura Falls Creek, including water quality monitoring, remediation works and the installation of 7 new stormwater treatment systems. Water monitoring has shown up to 93% reduction in faecal bacteria, up to 91% reduction in total nitrogen, and around 11.4 tonnes of rubbish and sediment removed annually from the creek.
Swampfest was supported by a grant from the NSW Government’s Environment Trust.