Funded by: CoastCare Victoria
Partners: South Gippsland Water
This project supported volunteers to test the water in four creeks known to contribute excessive nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment into Corner Inlet. These contaminants affect water quality in Corner Inlet and threaten the health of the seagrass meadows that are a nursery for fish and other marine life.
The volunteers, including students from Foster Secondary College where timing allowed, collected samples from two sites on each waterway. The samples were sent to a laboratory in Melbourne to test the Nitrogen levels, and turbidity tubes were used to check sediment levels.
COVID has played havoc with our timetable, and we had to collect our 12 samples over two years instead of one as originally planned. We also had to hold our final seminar online.
The final results are still being processed, however preliminary results suggest that the 75th percentile records for ammonia and turbidity in all four creeks, and nitrate levels in two of the creeks, exceeded the State Environmental Protection guidelines for total nitrogen.
While our results are only a snapshot and not based on long term data, this supports the need for further research and on-ground works to improve the health of local waterways. Our goal is that the data will inform future programs and on-ground works to improve land management practices and reduce run-off further up the catchment.
Our final seminar, which was attended by farmers, representatives from Agriculture Victoria, GippsDairy, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and members of the local community, opened discussions about how landholders can help improve waterway health.
We have called for expressions of interest for revegetation projects, and dung beetle nursery and release sites, and there is potential for collaboration with GippsDairy and the WGCMA on larger-scale projects. A Corner Inlet Landcare Group has also been recently established, and offers all members of the local community the opportunity to be involved in projects to improve the health of the Inlet.