Our region’s waterways and wetlands are some of our most valued natural assets. They are the arteries of our natural environment that support our lifestyles and livelihoods.
The 2020 Healthy Land and Water Report Card has reinforced this point, ranking our three coastal catchments – the Maroochy River, Mooloolah River and Pumicestone Passage – among the highest in South East Queensland for their social and economic benefits.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the ongoing protection and management of our waterways and catchments for their environmental value and contribution to our lifestyle by supporting recreation and social activities is a high priority for council.
“It is critical that we continually work to protect and enhance the health of our catchments and native habitats,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Through our council’s Environment and Liveability Strategy, we have placed a high priority on working to ensure our waterways and wetlands are healthy and resilient to change.
“Each year, thanks to our ratepayer’s Environment Levy, council participates in the Healthy Land and Water Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program – one of the most comprehensive waterway monitoring programs in Australia.
“This annual report card is a valuable tool for us to keep track of our progress, identify challenges and determine areas that may benefit from additional effort, to ensure we continue enjoying a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast for generations to come.”
The 2020 Healthy Land and Water Report Card highlighted that Sunshine Coast catchments are highly or very highly valued by the community, and in ecological terms, are in fair to excellent condition.
Council will continue to work towards our target to maintain and improve the ecological health of waterways and wetlands across each of our region’s river catchments to a good or excellent grade by 2041.
Healthy Land and Water CEO Julie McLellan said the 2020 Report Card results showed that people in the Sunshine Coast region love their waterways.
“This is important because waterways are seen as more important than ever. They reportedly have a calming, therapeutic and restorative effect on people during challenging times – including drought, bushfires, and especially COVID-19 and its ensuing economic hardship,” Ms McLellan said.
She said investment in projects to protect and improve catchments and their waterways would continue to support the health of our communities.
“Catchment restoration projects also have the potential to generate substantial numbers of jobs, for less initial investment than other industries.
“Catchments in good condition also provide greater support for tourism, farming of agricultural land, and drinking water production, and are more resilient to the impacts of major weather events.
“Through their Environment and Liveability Strategy, it’s great to see that Sunshine Coast Council is so committed to the ongoing protection of local waterway health.”
It is natural for waterway health to vary from year to year as a result of environmental conditions such as high rainfall, which causes more pollutants to enter our waterways.
Council is continuing to invest in major environmental management programs, like our Blue Heart, which support catchment and waterway health to ensure the Sunshine Coast’s natural assets are preserved for future generations.