Good news for Glenbrook lagoon

Article image - Good news for Glenbrook lagoon An Eastern Long-neck turtle found in Glenbrook Lagoon

A seven-year project at Blue Mountains City Council has restored the most polluted waterway in the Blue Mountains into a perfect habitat for aquatic life.

Council’s Environment Levy funded the restoration program, while involving the local community.

Recent surveys of the lagoon, conducted by Council, have revealed healthy populations of Eastern long-necked turtles, Flat-headed gudgeon, Australian smelt, eels and catfish.

Pollution-sensitive water insects that have not been seen in the lagoon for many years are also on the rise, meaning the water quality is improving.
Less than a decade ago, Glenbrook Lagoon was in poor shape, acting as a sink for storm water runoff from surrounding neighbourhoods.

High levels of water pollution led to an explosion of two aquatic weeds, Cabomba and Salvinia, which were literally choking the lagoon to death.
Cabomba and Salvinia are listed as Weeds of National Significance.

Cabomba is particularly virulent, and posed a potentially serious threat to Sydney’s nearby water supply, as well as waterway health, fisheries, recreation and tourism downstream.

Since the mid 1990’s, Council has been working on a long-term project to bring Glenbrook Lagoon back to life.

Systems have been installed to reduce storm water pollution, combatting noxious weeds in and around the lagoon, replanting native species, supporting local Bushcare and Clean Up Australia efforts, and raising community awareness. In a national first for such a large natural water body, the Council has cleared 99.9 percent of Cabomba and Salvinia.

Water quality is improving, bush land habitats around the lagoon are steadily recovering and less pollution is flowing into the lagoon.

The Council is also continuing to monitor the lagoon’s status.  
To fund Cabomba control, the Council secured a $280,000 Caring for Our Country grant from the Federal Government, with $200,000 in matching funds provided by Council’s Environment Levy.

The Council’s Environment Levy raises around $1.5 million annually from Council rates and funds projects to restore local creeks, improve water quality, control noxious weeds, protect endangered species and improve walking tracks across the City.

Mayor Councillor Mark Greenhill said Glenbrook Lagoon is now a gem of the
local community.

“It’s exciting for both the local community and the environment that this little oasis is returning to life.

“Glenbrook Lagoon is just one of 50 waterway sites regularly tested for water quality and one of 130 bush land sites currently being rehabilitated by Council; work which is made possible through Council’s Environment Levy.”

The Council will continue to track the lagoon’s water quality through its aquatic monitoring program.