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Insight into Derwent Estuary Program

The incorporation of Environment in the new-look Agency is being taken on board enthusiastically by DTAE staff, including Secretary Scott Gadd.

Last Friday’s fabulous autumn weather was a perfect opportunity for a hands-on introduction to the Environment division’s Derwent Estuary Program and Scott joined DEP director Christine Coughanowr and coordinator Ursula Taylor on the water to study issues of interest.

The DEP was established in 1999 as a partnership between state and local government, industry and the community. Its office is in the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority heaquarters on Franklin Wharf.

Although a small concern with just five staff, the DEP has been nationally recognised for excellence in coordinating initiatives to reduce water pollution, conserve habitats and species, monitor river health and promote greater use and enjoyment of the foreshore.

Scott received a lightning briefing about DEP’s projects before his boat trip and was relieved to be informed that flathead caught in the Derwent are still safe for the dinner plate!

There are 40 sites in the Derwent from which water samples are taken for the ambient water quality monitoring program.

Some of the sites were visted on the boat trip and the key factors influencing water quality were discussed.

Stormwater management also is a major issue for the DEP with run-off requiring more strategic management, particularly by local government.

It is envisaged new public projects will incorporate the benefits of water sensitive urban design principles which seek to minimise the impact of stormwater run-off.

A state stormwater forum is planned later this year.