Let’s fix the Hunter Estuary - we all have a part to play

Why It Matters

Hunter Estuary faces increasing threats from sedimentation, pollution, and habitat degradation. By
taking action today, we aim to ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from the
beauty and bounty of these vital natural habitats.

Join us in our endeavor to protect and restore the Hunter Estuary and work together
create a sustainable and thriving future for this beautiful Australian habitat.

Keeping the River Flowing
Keep dirt, leaves and grass clippings from flowing to the river by sweeping out of the gutter onto the lawn or pick up and put in your garden organics bin and not washing down the drain. This reduces your water bill as well.
Washing for a Sustainable Environment
Where possible wash your car, gardening tools and outdoor furniture on the grass so it stops the detergent, dirt and greases from flowing to the stormwater and out to the river. This allows the nutrients to be used by your lawn and waters it as well.
Keep your paint brush clean
Clean paint brushes away from the stormwater drain.
Soil and Fertilisers on Land
Ensure any exposed soils and fertilisers are retained on your land. Ensure fertilisers are applied at the recommended application rate. You’ve paid for this for your property, don’t let it runoff into the drain to increase nutrients in the river.
Clean Up Animal Waste
When walking your dog pick up after it. Take the waste home to your bin or place in the park bin.
Keep Native Animals safe
Be aware of animals your pet may chase and keep them on a leash if there is risk. Recreational areas next to a river or sand spit have native birds, animals, and reptiles. This is their home and deserve to be protected.
Avoid Heavy Vehicle Damage
Vehicles such as four-wheel drives and motorbikes cause wheel ruts and kills vegetation. This leaves the riverbank exposed with nothing to hold the soil together. This results in erosion and loss of the recreational land spoiling it for all users and possibly endangering people’s homes and livelihoods.
Respect Speed Signs
Respect the speed signs along the river, they are there for a reason. High wave action from speeding boats causes undermining of the banks leading to erosion which results in sediment filling up your favourite swimming, fishing, and boating spot. This can also possibly endanger people’s homes and livelihoods.
Don’t Litter
Litter is a major impact from urban areas around estuaries. Litter can pollute the water, block waterways, be a hazard to swimmers and kill aquatic fauna. Take your rubbish home with you or place it in a park bin.
Conduct Effective Research
Research the areas you are attending. The Hunter Estuary is home to important migratory species habitat and sensitive areas such as the Ramsar Wetlands. When attending these areas, care should be taken to not disturb the fauna or their habitat.
Are you managing sediment from your site?
Loss of dirt, sand, and grass from your site into the stormwater can impact your business as well as the environment. Increased levels of sediment blocks drains which result in costly maintenance. Sediment running from sites to downstream creeks, rivers and wetlands pollute the waterway increasing nutrient levels which can increase algae and plant growth. The simple solution is to maintain your sediment and erosion control structures.
Do you generate oils, greases, or heavy metals on your premise?
Release of these into the waterways is not only harmful but can be an offence under legislation.

What is sediment and why is it a problem?

Sediment is material derived from broken down rocks, soils, animals, and vegetation. This material occurs naturally in river systems and in some cases can be part of the ecosystem food chain.

Sediment generation can be increased through human impacts such as loss of vegetation from riverbanks, urban runoff, agricultural runoff, and recreational activities.

A major contributor of sediment is erosion. Erosion occurs along riverbanks, the river bed and surrounding land due to loss of vegetation on the landscape and increase in destructive forces such as wheel ruts (cars /utes/ motorbikes), ploughing of the land and wave action from boats. Vegetation holds the soils together and slows water down which allows the sediments to drop out before reaching the waterway.

Sediment contributes to issues such as:
River Activity
Filling up the river which reduces your recreational areas for fishing, swimming and boating.
Water Quality
Causes water quality issues such as turbidity and where the sediment carries contaminants such as faecal matter, or causes algal blooms occur, can cause human health problems.
Nutrients with sediments
Nutrients carried with sediments can cause ecosystem processes that increase oxygen usage which creates fish kills.
Sediments impacting fisheries
Sediments can smother aquatic habitat impacting fisheries, aquatic fauna homes.