Recent studies of the Tweed River have shown that the water quality varies greatly at opposite ends of the river – ranging from very good to poor.
“Down towards the river mouth, the lower estuary is a healthy and well-functioning ecosystem and gets an ‘A’ for water quality compliance,” Council’s Waterways Program Leader, Tom Alletson, said.
The report described the lower estuary, Terranora Inlet and surrounding area as a healthy functioning estuarine system.
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But the Rous River and creeks feeding the broadwaters received a ‘D’ grading – meaning lower than 50% compliance with water quality guidelines. The report said frequently eutrophic conditions with poor water clarity, high levels of bacteria, low dissolved oxygen and low pH episodes indicate poor ecosystem health and a high level of disturbance from natural state.
“Water in the lower estuary is highly influenced by the ocean during daily tides, whereas the upper reaches of the estuary are more influenced by the quality of runoff from developed land.
“Unfortunately degradation of small streams in our upper catchment has a detrimental impact on water quality downstream.”
Council commissioned the two water quality assessments as background studies for a new Tweed River Estuary Management Program.