Photo: NORA DEVAI
SHOALHAVEN Riverwatch has expressed concerns about the health of the Shoalhaven River.
According to Riverwatch vice president Charlie Weir, recent studies by environmental consultants have shown the river is suffering.
Severe bank erosion, reduced water flows from Tallowa Dam and the loss of valuable bank vegetation as raised salt water levels extend along the river were cause for concern.
Oyster farmers were also suffering from polluted water and high salinity.
Mr Weir said he had noticed a build-up of slime and algae in the river over the winter months and it had to be removed from recently planted mangroves for them to survive.
The slime and algae removal was one of the many tasks performed by the hard working Riverwatch volunteers and GreenCorp teams.
“The slime has increased over the years as a result of a build-up of nutrients from urban run-off,” Mr Weir said.
“As the town grows so does the increase in nutrients and the slim starts to appear between July and September.
“The presence of slime is an indicator of poor river health and is getting worse every year.”
Riverwatch members said the amount of rubbish flowing into the river was also a problem, with several bags collected every year having washed onto riverbanks from stormwater drains and careless boat owners.
Mr Weir said he believed rubbish cages should be installed at the stormwater drain outlets to collect rubbish.
Riverwatch was also disappointed about delays by the State Government’s implementation of management and boating plans, which would improve the health of the river.
“I have been a volunteer for over 11 years and during that time it has been a slow process to have a management plan for the river,” Mr Weir said.
“Unless we have some positive leadership from council and the State Government, how can we attach new volunteers to the Landcare movement?
“While the support from local State Government and council staff has been outstanding, without any clear leadership their efforts are sometimes wasted.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Riverwatch volunteer email