Creek water quality and levels being monitored
WATER levels and water quality in Tallow Creek at Byron Bay is being monitored after recent rainfall.
Byron Shire Council said they are keeping a close eye on the creek, which is an Intermittently Closed or Open Lake or Lagoon (ICOLL). It is currently closed which means water levels build up behind the sand berm.
Byron Shire Council's Coastal and Biodiversity Officer, Chloe Dowsett, said staff have been inspecting the level of the beach at the entrance of Tallow Creek to ensure the sand bar is not at a height which would effect a natural breaching of the berm during the next rainfall event.
"Water levels have been sitting between 2.0 to 2.1m for a few weeks now with no significant rain predicted in the near future," Ms Dowsett said.
"The beach berm is only a little higher than the water level in the creek at the moment with the ocean water reaching the creek during the highest of the high tides.
"It is clear that some high tides have been washing over the beach into the creek, however swell conditions have not been quite right for a natural breaching," she said.
The council said when water builds up there is often concern from local residents but it is important for people to know Tallow Creek, like many other coastal waterways, opens and closes naturally over time and there are strict regulations about artificially opening the creek mouth.
"Byron Shire Council has an Environmental Management Plan and Opening Strategy for Tallow Creek which detail two potential triggers to manual intervention of the creek mouth," Ms Dowsett said.
"We will only intervene if the water quality is dangerous to human health, or if water levels pose a flood risk.
"Should the water level go beyond 2.2m then council does have a permit from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to artificially open the mouth of Tallow Creek and a lot of consideration is given to making sure this is done properly to minimise the rapid release of water to the ocean and reduce the chance of a fish kill.
"Unfortunately there was an unauthorised opening of Tallow Creek in November last year and this caused a significant fish kill and we don't want this to happen again," Ms Dowsett said.