Richmond Valley Council’s Mark Hesse and Gillian Marchant (project manager) at Salty Lagoon, which the council has worked hard to rejuvenate.
Richmond Valley Council’s Mark Hesse and Gillian Marchant (project manager) at Salty Lagoon, which the council has worked hard to rejuvenate. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

A program worth its salt

SALTY Lagoon, near Evans Head, is home to frogs, waterbirds, fish, vegetation and other sealife.

But, thanks to 65 years of effluent release from the Evans Head sewage treatment plant, no one would really call it a pristine marine environment.

However efforts by the Richmond Valley Council to improve the health of the lagoon, since a new treatment plant was built, have paid off.

The council's environmental monitoring program has been recognised with an environmental enhancement award.

"In order to make informed decisions regarding management of the system and to inform rehabilitation strategies, we monitored the ecosystem components," Gary Murphy, Richmond Valley Council director of works, said.

"It's envisaged that the data gathered will improve understanding of events in intermittently closed and opened lakes and lagoons, such as fish kills."

High-tech devices such as automated water level and quality monitoring equipment was used in the program. Alerts were sent via SMS messages when trigger points were reached.

The health of "indicator species" of marine life were also monitored.

"It is extremely pleasing that the council has been rewarded and acknowledged for the excellent work in undertaking this project," Mr Murphy said.



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