Wetlands and waterways

wetland and waterways

Blue green algae

Blue green algae can bloom in our rivers and waterways, and it needs to be avoided as it produces toxins that are harmful to your health, animals and livestock.

We undertake monthly monitoring of blue green algae at Walka Water Works, Telarah Lagoon and Rathluba Lagoon.

Blooms can be recognised as a discolouration of the water, by scum on the water surface or a paint like slick, or by an earthy or musty odour coming from the water.

Should you notice considerable blue green algae blooms that are of concern, please contact our Environment team on 02 4934 9700.

Current blue green algae alerts

There are three (3) alert levels for blue green algae.

  • Surveillance mode (green level) involves routine sampling to measure contaminants (eg physical, microbial, cyanobacterial and algal)
  • Alert mode (amber level) requires investigation into the causes of elevated contaminant levels, and increased sampling to enable a more accurate assessment of the risks to recreational users
  • Action mode (red level) requires the local government authority and health authorities to warn the public that the water body is considered unsuitable for recreational use.

Tips to stop algae

To reduce the risk of algal blooms, you should:

  • Ensure that garden and lawn clippings are raked up and aren't washed into stormwater drains during rain
  • Rather than hosing paths, use a broom
  • Stop soils and excess fertiliser from your garden and lawn from running into our stormwater drains
  • Wash your car on the lawn to reduce sediments and detergents running into the stormwater drain
  • Pick up after your pet has defecated.

For further information on recreational activities in water affected by Blue Green Algae see the DPI factsheet.

Estuary management plan

The Hunter Estuary extends 75 kilometres, from the Port at Newcastle to the tidal limit at Oakhampton in Maitland. It is a functioning ecosystem that is widely valued. The estuary is an important habitat for a selection of internationally significant resident and migratory animals, as well as being used as a water source for agriculture, recreational waterway, and a commercial resource for a number of industries.

To protect and maintain the social, economic and environmental values of the Hunter Estuary, we’re developing a Hunter Estuary Coastal Management Program, that supports the previous Management Study and Management Plan adopted in association with Newcastle City Council, Port Stephens Council and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW).

Hunter Estuary Coastal Management Program

The Program will create a building block for all stakeholders within the Hunter Estuary to work together to implement a functional, healthy vibrant Hunter River.

Hunter Estuary Processes Study

The Hunter Estuary Processes Study provides more scientific analysis and research information on the estuary environment.

Estuary Management Plan

The Estuary Management Plan aims to guide future decision making regarding short and long term management of the Hunter Estuary, its foreshores and its broader catchment area. 

Estuary Management Study

The Estuary Management Study offers up potential management actions addressing the key issues impacting the Estuary. 

For more information on the developing Hunter Esutary Coastal Management Program, visit Hunter Estuary

Water quality monitoring program

Maitland City Council monitors the water quality of the Hunter River and Hunter Estuary within its local government boundary.

Water quality is important to help understand potential implications to recreation, ecosystem health and to assist in directing the management of our waterways and catchments.

Data helps us monitor trends over time and identify the suitability of local bodies of water for recreational uses. It also helps to better understand whether actions taken to manage & improve water quality are effective. 

Help maintain water quality

Water quality conditions can change quickly with weather conditions, such as prolonged heat and intense rain. NSW Health recommends you do not swim in estuaries or rivers within three days of heavy rain. 

You can play a key role in keeping our waterways clean by reducing litter, pollutants and illegal dumping. 

This includes:

  • Wash your car on the grass

  • Do not flush chemicals or paint into stormwater drains

  • Prevent leaves and grass clippings from washing down the drain

  • Use smaller amounts of fertilizers and garden chemicals 

  • Place rubbish in bins, paper and plastics in the recycling and do not throw cigarette butts in the gutter

  • Clean up after your animals

  • Compost garden waste and use it to improve garden soil.

See Also