The Queensland Government recently announced a $5m funding boost to improve the health of South East Queensland (SEQ) waterways. The majority of the funding will be provided to Healthy Land and Water programs including erosion and sediment control and urban stormwater capacity building ($2.996M). The remaining funding is to be split between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries agronomic research programs and Growcom Australia’s horticultural best management practice.
The funding will assist “rectify” the degradation of SEQ waterways after several catchments received an “F” rating in the recent Healthy Land and Water report card. The poor results are a function of record high land-generated sediment loads and substantial rainfall and flooding in 2022. Key outcomes from the funded water quality programs include:

  • Encouraging Erosion and Sediment Control best management practices to improve SEQ water quality
  • Targeting key locations in the Pumicestone region to dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen flowing to waterways and Moreton Bay
  • Supporting farmers to implement sustainable land management and on farm practice changes to reduce sediment, nutrient and pesticides entering local waterways
  • Producing innovative agronomic research to reduce nutrient and pesticide application in key food production areas in SEQ
  • Assuring the continued delivery of the SEQ Report Card and accompanying monitoring

The funding and proposed actions are all greatly needed to assist protect the values of SEQ waterways however much more is needed to make real changes to waterway health. The measurable decline of waterway health in SEQ has been ongoing for years. The Lower Brisbane catchment received a C- rating in 2015 and now has an F rating. Similarly the Mid Brisbane, Caboolture, Pine, Redlands, Logan, Bremer and Pine Catchments have all decreased in rating since 2015. Clearly our waterways need help!
Recognition of the issue and funding of $5m for waterway restoration is a step in the right direction however it is worth noting how small this amount is compared to the money that is spent on state infrastructure such as roads. While road improvements are important for transportation, safety and economic growth, it is crucial that we also prioritise the protection and restoration of our waterways for generations to come.
We must all do our part in protecting our waterways, whether it be through reducing our own environmental impact, adopting sustainable stormwater solutions or advocating for increased government funding for restoration efforts. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address the decline of our waterways otherwise the report card will need a new category below “F”. The health of our waterways is not only vital for the environment and the countless species that depend on them, but also for our own quality of life and the prosperity of our communities.
Stormwater Queensland recognises the government has started to acknowledge the issue however we call for more funding for the protection and restoration of our waterways. Our waterways deserve nothing less.

Image sourced from article here.