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Strategic approach to restore the Derwent estuary

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

Environment Minister Matthew Groom today 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.

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 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."

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.

The current DEP Environmental Management Plan can be found on the: DEP website