Coffs Coast Water Check: Be Part Of Ripple Effect

Coffs Harbour City

A special partnership between City of Coffs Harbour and the Armidale-headquartered University of New England (UNE) is tracking the health of local waterways – and now residents can contribute to the science.

Experts have been gathering and analysing data from Bonville, Pine, Boambee, Newports, Coffs, Moonee, Darkum, Arrawarra, Corindi and Saltwater creeks as well as Hearnes and Woolgoolga lakes.

They have been assessing water quality, the condition of riverbank vegetation and water bug and fish distribution.

“Gathering information on water quality empowers the City and other government agencies to make informed decisions on the management and maintenance of these natural assets,” City of Coffs Harbour City Planning and Communities Director Chris Chapman said.

WATCH: How the City’s partnership with UNE is making a difference

The City and UNE have been working together for 10 years and the arrangement has given rise to ‘Ecohealth’, a catchment-based estuary and freshwater monitoring and reporting program.

In a new development, residents can now contribute to the volume of observations through a community portal on the Ecohealth website.

“This is a positive addition as local people have a particular affinity with their neighbourhood creek,” City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Paul Amos said.

While the project continues to evolve and collect data through regular samplings, the latest ‘report card’ for the Coffs Coast rated the water quality as ‘good’.

The Ecohealth project has been further supported by City of Coffs Harbour through the Environment Levy program (grant nominations for 2024/25 projects are now open).

Citizen scientist or not, Coffs residents can make a difference for their local waterways by:

  • Controlling and managing stock access to streams by fencing riparian (riverbank) areas and providing off-stream stock watering points and shade access.

  • Reducing nutrient and pollutant runoff into streams (e.g. fertilisers, chemicals or cleaning products).

  • Conserving and maintaining well-vegetated riparian areas, particularly deep-rooted native species that help stabilise streambanks.

  • Revegetating streambanks that have been cleared or depleted of riparian vegetation using a range of suitable local native plant species.

  • Leaving woody debris and natural rock formations in waterbodies.

  • Identifying and managing weeds appropriately.

  • Not littering – take all rubbish with you.

  • Reporting any rubbish dumping to City of Coffs Harbour. Dumping garden waste is a main cause in the spread of weeds.

  • Keeping to designated paths in recreation areas to minimise soil erosion and compaction and to avoid trampling native vegetation.

/Public Release. View in full here.