Collaborating for our waterways

The D’Entrecasteaux and Huon waterways are shared-use waterways that host more Tasmanian recreational fishers and boaters than any other in Tasmania, and with thriving commercial operators and growing residential development it is critical that the area’s natural values are managed effectively.

In December 2015, an innovative partnership agreement was signed between industry, government and natural resource managers. The partnership provides a framework for collaboration to support and enhance natural diversity and improve the condition of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Huon Estuary. Today, DHC partners convened at Tinderbox to renew their commitment to this ongoing partnership to 2020.

The D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration is made up of representatives from the region’s two salmon farmers – Huon Aquaculture and Tassal – as well as Kingborough and Huon Valley Councils, TasWater, the Derwent Estuary Program and NRM South.

NRM South’s D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Project Officer, Dr Amelia Fowles, explained that the Collaboration brings together key stakeholders in waterway management in one program, signing a partnership agreement to consolidate and extend previous initiatives. “NRM South works in partnership with other organisations to deliver key land and water management programs in southern Tasmania to ensure our local environment stays healthy,” said Dr Fowles. “With partners contributing more than $180,000 over the next 2 years the Collaboration will undertake projects to analyse and report on the condition of the waterway, identify key management issues, and develop practical projects that will improve the condition and health of the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon.”

Taswater’s Frances Smith, Acting Department Manager System Performance & Productivity, commented that TasWater has found the collaborative approach has been beneficial in gaining an understanding of the environment of our important waterways, via their partnership with the DHC, along with their participation in the Derwent Estuary program and a similar association through NRM North and the Tamar River. “As an independent body, the reporting done by DHC has been able to clarify for the community the contribution TasWater sewage treatment plants make to the nutrient loads in the Channel and Huon Estuary, and how we can help to improve the water quality in the area.”

David Bromfield, Operations Manager for NRM South said “I am delighted to sign the agreement and extend this significant partnership. It is so important that we continue to work together to improve and manage these valuable waterways.”

The Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Steve Wass, commented “Kingborough Council is delighted to continue our involvement with the DHC and work with other interested parties to make sure this magnificent waterway remains healthy and well-used by all into the future. This waterway sustains the highest level of recreation and commercial activities in Tasmania, providing opportunities for economic development and social impact, and is an environment we want to protect.”

Much of the Collaboration’s activity directly supports a biennial report card on the condition of the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon waterways, focusing on water quality and sediment health, waterway use, coastal and marine habitats, and climate. The first report card was released in 2016, and the most recent report card will be available later this year. The Collaboration will continue working on marine debris projects – which have to date removed over 50m3 of debris from the Huon and D’Entrecasteaux waterways and coastlines – alongside projects to improve the condition of coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

Through this partnership, the DHC has changed the way waterway information is shared and how on-ground projects are delivered. The collaborative approach has contributed to ecologically sustainable aquaculture production; safeguarding valuable marine ecosystems, ensuring the long-term viability of seafood supply and supporting the businesses and local communities that depend on a healthy marine environment. The DHC assists seafood businesses to have meaningful communications with all stakeholders and meet their international standards in sustainable aquaculture production.

The Collaboration are looking forward to growing the program and encourage other industry partners and waterway users to come on board over time.

This project is supported through funding from the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration partners – NRM South, the Derwent Estuary Program, Huon Aquaculture, Huon Valley and Kingborough Councils, Tassal and TasWater.