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Strategic approach to the Derwent estuary

23 September 2014

The Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) has welcomed the signing of the third Derwent Estuary Program Partnership Agreement.

Acting DEP Director Ursula Taylor said as the condition of the estuary improves, there is growing interest in conserving and enjoying the Derwent’s natural features.

“Since 1999 more than $150 million has been spent towards environmental improvements,” Ms. Taylor said.

“The Derwent is now showing promising signs of recovery. During the past decade, there have been substantial reductions in discharges of organic matter (>90 percent), heavy metals (>60 percent), and sewage-derived nutrients (10 – 20 percent), as well as improvements in stormwater treatment.”

Environment Minister Matthew Groom joined the councils that border on the Derwent estuary (Brighton, Clarence, Derwent Valley, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough) and five major industry partners (Nyrstar Hobart Smelter, Norske Skog Paper, TasWater, the Tasmanian Ports Corporation and Hydro Tasmania) for the public signing.

The DEP has led initiatives such as:

• Monitoring pollution levels at swimming beaches and bays;

• Monitoring pollution levels in seafood;

• Increasing the area of protected wetlands by 40 percent; and

• To preserve iconic species such as the little penguin and the endangered spotted handfish.

More recently, the DEP has encouraged the enjoyment of the Derwent through the use of foreshore tracks by developing the Greater Hobart Trails website.