Professor Barry Hart, Chair, Gippsland Lakes and Catchment Task Force

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  • 1. The Gippsland Lakes A Community Forum November 2008
  • 2. Gippsland Lakes Task Force
    • Established in 2001 by the Minister for Environment and Conservation
    • Independent chair (Prof. Barry Hart)
    • Membership
      • Local Government EPA
      • Gippsland Coastal Board Southern Rural Water
      • East Gippsland CMA West Gippsland CMA
      • East Gippsland Water Gippsland Water
      • DSE DPI
  • 3. Key Objective
    • To protect the ecological health of the Gippsland Lakes by ensuring the adaptive integrated management of both the Lakes and catchment
    • Actions:
      • Implement Action Plan
      • Facilitate integration and coordinate
      • Monitor and evaluate
      • Identify and address key knowledge gaps
  • 4. Achievements
    • $19.8M allocated by State Govt over last 7 years
    • 75% spent on on-ground actions for nutrient & sediment reductions (MID, high rainfall dairy, tunnel erosion, foreshore protection, stormwater & wetlands)
    • ‘ Lakes are precious’ campaign to engage community in Lakes awareness and actions
    • Monitoring of nutrient loads (event monitoring)
    • Monitoring in-lake conditions
    • Research to identify best value (activities & locations) for investment of funds
    • Substantial leveraging of regional and Federal funds
    • Investigations into role of lake sediments and causes of algal blooms
    • Evaluations of work to date and planning for future
  • 5. Total Phosphorus Load (tonne) Year (1 June - 31 May)
  • 6. 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 TP Concentration (ug/L) TP Concentration (ug/L)
  • 7. The Future
    • Lakes
      • likely impacts from climate change
      • Lakes will become an even more dynamic system over the next 20-30 years
      • Will change from the current estuarine coastal embayment system to a more marine system
    • Catchment
      • also in transition
      • more bushfires
      • challenges for the irrigation industry (Macalister Irrigation District) - water availability and cost
      • expansion of the rain-fed dairy industry
      • potential for major landscape changes to improve biodiversity values
  • 8. Task Force Actions (next 4 years)
    • Continued actions to reduce nutrients entering the Lakes – focus on: - Macalister Irrigation District (MID) - Rain-fed dairy regions - Forested regions (bushfires) - Rehabilitating waterways and drainage lines
    • Better reporting on the Gippsland Lakes ‘health’ through an improved ecosystem monitoring and assessment program
    • Improved communications program
    • Ongoing program of targeted investigations to address key gaps in knowledge as the Lakes system changes
  • 9. Immediate future
    • Snap shot survey of the ecological health of the Lakes and impact of algal bloom
    • Synechococcus workshop
    • Undertake risk assessment of potential contaminants (pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormones and heavy metals)
    • Complete nutrient dynamics research
    • Seek on-going funding from State and Federal Governments