Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan

Combined with the support from an Australian Government Tamar Estuary River Health Grant, a total investment of $11.5 million will be invested in catchment works over six years from 2018/19, expected to reduce pathogen loads in Zone 1 of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary by more than 4%.

TEER catchment
The plan will see improvements made throughout the Tamar catchment.

Focus

NRM North has been selected as the preferred provider to deliver the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan – Catchment Works Program. The program will provide funding through Tamar Action Grants to support grazing and dairy landholders with the installation of riparian fencing to control stock access, revegetation, installation of off-stream stock water and stock crossings and effluent management upgrades on dairy farms within the targeted catchments.

In urban areas, actions will be taken to investigate and mitigate sewage intrusion into Launceston’s separated stormwater systems to reduce pathogens entering the estuary. In the dairy industry, investments for effluent projects will include innovative management approaches, extension of effluent storages and effluent irrigation areas, as well as an effluent extension program to build the capacity and skills within the industry including funding for effluent designs.

Working with dairy and grazing industries and councils, the program aims to:

  • exclude stock from waterways;
  • rehabilitate riparian revegetation buffers on dairy and grazing farms;
  • improve effluent management on dairy farms; and
  • remove sewage intrusion to separated stormwater systems in urban areas around Launceston.

Value

The Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce (TEMT) was established under the Launceston City Deal with an aim of identifying investments to improve the health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary. As part of this work, the Taskforce was charged with delivering a River Health Action Plan (RHAP) by the end of 2017, which recommends priority government investments and policy actions.

In 2018 under the Launceston City Deal, the Australian and Tasmanian governments jointly committed to $95 million of funding for the RHAP. The funding will support priority projects ($84.6 million) to improve Launceston’s combined sewerage and stormwater system and the Catchment Works Program ($10 million) for NRM North to support actions across dairy, grazing and urban areas. These land uses are the three largest contributors to pathogen loads in the greater estuary catchment and are also major controllable sources of nutrient and sediment loads.

In the dairying and grazing spaces, large benefits were identified from limiting stock access to streams to minimise input of faecal matter into tributaries, while improved effluent management practices in dairies were also considered to have good potential for pathogen load reduction.

Boat on the Tamar
The upper kanamaluka/Tamar estuary, is part of Zone 1.
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View of the Tamar from Royal Park.

Delivery

The RHAP builds on the work previously undertaken by NRM North through development of a Tamar Estuary Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP). The Catchment Works program has established a collaborative partnership with local and Tasmanian governments, DairyTas and the Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association to:

  • facilitate the distribution of Tamar Action Grants to a large percentage of graziers and the majority of dairy farmers in the kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary and Esk River catchment (TEER);
  • mitigate sewage intrusion in the separated stormwater systems of the Launceston area, in partnership with the City of Launceston and West Tamar Council;
  • extend effluent storages and irrigation areas in the dairy industry; and
  • build capacity and skills to raise the bar in dairy effluent management practices, through workshops and field days to showcase best practice.

Quick Q&A

What influences the health of the Tamar estuary?

The health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary is influenced by the City of Launceston's combined sewerage and stormwater system, inability to flush sediment due to marine tides meeting freshwater inflows, agricultural practices further up in the catchment, historical industrial practices, outflows from sewage treatment plants throughout the Tamar estuary, river floods and man-made changes to the flow and channel of the estuary.

What about sedimentation & contaminants?

Sediment input from the greater catchment area, into the river systems has contributed to the sedimentation of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary. Sediment carried with surface runoff into the rivers brings with it nutrients and heavy metals.

A legacy of historic mining in the upper catchment has also impacted on the overall condition of the river systems and contributed to the contaminants in the estuary. Improving the water quality in the Tamar Estuary and Esk River (TEER) catchment will assist in the long-term sustainable management of this resource and the ecosystem health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary.

How can landholders help to improve water quality?

There are many ways landholders can improve water quality in the catchments, especially graziers and dairy farmers. You may already implement some NRM techniques including keeping waterways clean and clear from contamination, using sprays and additives in recommended amounts, fencing off waterways and bush land, planting shelter belts and introducing water and energy saving strategies, including erosion control.

Please read about our Water Program for more information.

Partners

This project is supported with funding provided by the Australian and Tasmanian governments through the Launceston City Deal and the Australian Government Tamar Estuary River Health Grant.

Australian Government Logo
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Partners

This project is supported with funding provided by the Australian and Tasmanian governments through the Launceston City Deal and the Australian Government Tamar Estuary River Health Grant.

Australian Government Logo
Tas Govt resized
city of launceston_coloured_400x300
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Water Program & Projects

Water Program

Return to the Water Program.

Tamar Action Grants

Funding for landholders to exclude stock from waterways in the Tamar Estuary and Esk Rivers catchment.

Biological Values of the TEER

Learn about what calls the Tamar Estuary and Esk Rivers home.

Monitoring water quality in the TEER

Learn more about the Water Quality Improvement Plan.